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A small business blog featuring tips to help entrepreneurs succeed in the small business world. Topics include family business, human resources, marketing, money, networking, operations, ownership, startup, taxes and technology.
Helping Ensure Your Employees Get Along

In any business, especially small ones, everyone works closely together. Sometimes employees have to deal with the cubicle situation, with desks nearly on top of one another, because of limited space issues. This can cause some messy situations if you, as the boss, don’t lay down some ground rules right from the beginning.

Here are some things you may want to stick in your employee policy manual, in order to help avoid those popular cubicle conflicts:

1. Allow employees to label their supplies.
One of the most popular cubicle complaints among employees is that things keep disappearing from their desk. We all know that popular phrase from Office Space: “Has anyone seen my stapler?” Well, it happens all the time. For me, my pens are always disappearing, mostly because I sit at the front desk. Allow your employees to label their supplies, such as staplers, pens, clipboards, etc., with their name or desk number, in order to help to sway the temptation of others to snatch it.

2. Allow employees to have some music, with limitations.
Music is something that helps everyone get through the day. It’s probably best to allow your employees to have music at their desk, but at a volume that is only audible to their own ears. If this is a near impossibility, then recommend headphones. The last thing you want is for your employee who enjoys the music stylings of hip-hop to annoy their neighbor who listens to strictly country.

3. Have a “no huddling” policy.
Often, one area of the office will become the congregation area for employees to chat on their breaks etc. Appropriate places for these huddles are break rooms or, the ever popular water cooler. But at another employees desk is not the place to talk about the new Harry Potter book. Though the person at that desk may be participating in the conversation, she probably isn’t getting any work done. And many people find it annoying, especially when they have a deadline lingering over their heads.

4. Avoid food hazards, of the smelly kind.
Unfortunately, some people like tuna sandwiches for lunch, or some other smelly leftover. Though some employees like to eat lunch at their desk in order to get more work done, consider making it company policy that, in order to avoid disgusting co-workers with smells they may not consider pleasant, lunches need to be eaten in the lunch/break room or outside. Most snacks aren’t worrisome, but with a policy such as this in place, if the snack is a bit oppressive, employees won’t be as intimidated to ask their co-worker to eat elsewhere.

Another smelly problem are those employees who might wear a strong perfume or cologne (you may even be guilty of this one). Though it’s important that everyone smell good, it’s important not to knock your neighbor unconscious with the fumes. Consider adding limitations here as well (i.e. should not be able to smell your perfume from more than 2 feet away).

5. Limit personal items.
Pictures of their family on vacation in Hawaii are appropriate and employees should be encouraged to make desk space more enjoyable. However, your employee should never have a picture of his wife in a sexy nighty in plain sight, or a baywatch baby, or a chip-n-dale model (for those ladies). Those items all come very close to the harassment boarder line. Equally annoying, however, are items such as trolls or ferbies. Consider limiting your employees to a few family appropriate photos and maybe one, small and indiscriminate personal nik-nak, just to be on the safe side.

Implementing these policies may just help everyone to get along and give peace a chance. Hopefully. Well, at least they can’t hurt.

Inspiration:
• CareerBuilder.com: Your Six Biggest Cubicle Complaints… Solved


Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
Building Your Office
What Employees Want from You
Standing on the Job
Scheduling Time to Relax
How to Fire an Employee

By Michelle Cramer
Tuesday, September 20th, 2016 @ 12:02 AM CDT

Human Resources, Operations |