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Office Etiquette

Campus belltower

“Mindfulness isn’t difficult, we just need to remember to do it.” 

~Sharon Salzberg

In DELTA we know how to connect with respect. Respectful workplaces don’t happen by chance, they are mindfully crafted. As we continue to grow as an organization, let’s be mindful of how we make choices that impact our colleagues during the workday.  This document provides guidelines for helping us all be mindful in a manner that will help us work together successfully in a large organization where we share various spaces — from open office/cube space to shared conference rooms.

Mindful Office Etiquette

Personal Space

  • Be mindful of colleagues’ work environments by not entering individual work spaces physically, visually or verbally without acknowledgment and invitation. Some examples of respect for personal space include: do not look over a wall that is meant to provide privacy for the occupant, avoid looking over someone’s shoulder at their computer screen or items in their work space without their knowledge, and if you happen to overhear personal phone or in-person conversations, do not engage in discussions that did not specifically invite you to participate.
  • Respect others’ individual work spaces by not using, borrowing or removing supplies, phone, computer, other equipment or personal items without permission. 

Noise Levels

  • Be mindful of holding conversations outside of someone’s cube, or an open office door, or even in your own cube. Move along to a more private space if the conversation is going to be more than a minute in order not to disturb others. 
  • Be mindful of loud shenanigans. We have a light-hearted organization and we enjoy laughter and a bit of fun and we want to keep it that way; simply be mindful of ongoing meetings, visitors and the needs of others when hosting showers, events or having impromptu fun. 
  • Be mindful of cubes and offices at all suite entrances and hallways; staff seated in these busy areas tend to have to contend with a lot of noise.
  • Be mindful of meetings in open spaces. If not in a closed room, please keep noise at a level that will not disturb the work of others nearby.
  • Be mindful of your responsibility in collegially letting others know if noise is bothersome to you, and if you are on the receiving end of this feedback, respond positively about moving a conversation or a standing meeting elsewhere. 

Scent Sensitivity Awareness

  • Be mindful of personal products (fragrances, perfumes, lotions, hair products) and other items with scents or chemicals (candles, potpourri, flowers, air freshener) that are perceptible to others. Employees and visitors to our organization may have a sensitivity and/or an allergic reaction to various fragrant and chemical products.  Avoid bringing fragrances and chemicals into our space that are perceptible to others. 
  • Be mindful of strong food smells (burnt popcorn, fish) that are perceptible to others, especially if taking food out of the break room into an open area. Employees and visitors (and expectant mothers) may have sensitivity to food smells.


  • Be mindful of your colleagues need for “concentrated work task time.”  We are all happy to help each other out and talk to each other in unscheduled ways when needed, however, when you do need some impromptu time with someone, be mindful of what that person is already doing and ask if “now is a good time.”  If not, find a time.
  • Be mindful of casually greeting your colleagues who are engaged in their work. It is okay to not say hello when someone is working!
  • Be mindful of the disruption a phone call can make for others. Set your ringer volume low, watch your volume and turn off your ringer when not at your workstation.  

Shared Spaces

  • Be mindful of cleaning up after yourself by cleaning up your own mess and throwing away your own old food in places where food is kept (kitchens, break rooms, etc.).
  • Be mindful of keeping conference and consulting rooms clean — throw away your trash, clean up the room and power down the equipment when you are finished so the space is ready for the next person.