How to encourage good desk etiquette
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How to encourage good desk etiquette

As in every working environment, the atmosphere can occasionally become rather stressful and tense, especially when deadlines are looming and the workload is piling up. Having your own desk space can sometimes feel like a personal paradise to help you calm down.

However, while the workstation is somewhere for employees to keep as they wish, you have to take into consideration other members of staff.

Here are a few starters to get you going on the path to office protocol perfection

Get your own stationery

The stationery you have on your desk is your own personal tools for work – necessities for the everyday tasks of an office environment. So rather than having employees constantly searching the room, ensure your armoury is stocked to take on any challenge. There is no need to go over the top – it’s unlikely you’ll need a compass or square set unless you’re a graphic designer – just having the basics such as penshighlighters and paper clips is good place to start.

Be wary of what you eat at your desk

When midday comes around, office workers can’t wait to take the first bite of their lunch after an arduous morning of tasks. But with everyone having different tastes and their own favourite lunch, how do you distinguish what is acceptable and what is not?

For a start, if it has a strong smell, it has to be a no-go territory. While you may want employees to be able to eat whatever they like, you need to balance up how others feel – you don’t want anyone feeling unwell after someone heats up last night’s leftover trout in the microwave. Encourage people to keep their lunch to the three S’s (soups, sandwiches and salads) – it’s usually the safest bet.

Washing dirty mugs

There’s nothing more frustrating than going to the kitchen to get your own personal mug, not being able to find it and then seeing it sat on someone else’s desk. Equally annoying is when you’re looking for an empty glass for some light water refreshment, and there are several dirty ones sat on your neighbour’s workspace.

Encourage everyone to either take their cups into the kitchen after every shift and place them in the dishwasher, or wash them out by hand. Raise the point that it is everyone’s responsibility to keep the office clean. If that is still too much though, getting some plastic or paper cups may be your best option.

Don’t drown in a sea of clutter

The key to being productive at your desk is having a well-organised workspace. To cut down on the clutter, make sure your stationery cupboard is equipped with the right office supplies. Having folders and plastic wallets for different clients, “to-do” and “done” organising trays or even getting a small filing cabinet to keep your important documents in are all perfect techniques to adhere to desk etiquette. If your company doesn’t have a shredder, be sure to invest in one so staff are able to dispose of any sensitive information they no longer need.

Take your private conversations elsewhere

When it comes to work, there’s nothing more irritating than sitting at your desk, trying to get your head round a massive problem, and all you can hear is the person on the next desk talking to their friend on the phone.

Your workstation is purely for work-related matters, so if employee have to make a private phone call or want a more sociable chat with a co-worker, tell them make use of the office furniture in a break out area where they won’t be acting as a distraction for anyone in deep thought.

Encouraging a few simple rules can help create a more enjoyable working space for everyone, and one that’s in keeping with the code of desk conduct.