Come to work clean, but unscented.
Use “designated private space” for impromptu discussions.
If you’re responsible for an office party or meal, keep portions of healthy, un-fried, low-cal, foods small.
So go some of the “Guidelines for Life in the Cubicle Village” issued to employees at the city’s health department, which began moving yesterday to new offices in Long Island City.
The Department – which endures plenty of ribbing for its “nanny” policies – is setting a tremendous example, decreed Mary Schooling, associate professor of epidemiology at Hunter College. Obesity, which has mushroomed in the U.S., is best trounced by “changing the environment so people can make good choices,” she said.
The Department’s discouragement of fragrances, disinfectants and other chemicals will be a blessing for those who find their asthma and hay fever symptoms triggered by such odors, she added.
The need for – and creation of - office behavioral guidelines and policies has increased as more employers opt for “open space” office designs. Employee disgruntlement (which can lead to acting out) and conflict rises as privacy decreases, said Diane Pfadenhauer, an attorney and president of Employment Practices Advisors in New York. Noise and smells are the single greatest source of employee behavioral complaints to managers, she added.
How about an “eat your own food” rule for the office kitchenette, which, incidentally, is too often treated as a public dumping ground, proposed Stacy Stamp, 29, an accounting clerk from Flatbush.
Based on a traumatic memory of seeing someone dressed down in a previous gig, Vivian Perez, 44, an executive administrative assistant from Elmont, would like a ban on “reprimanding someone publicly.”
Most employees welcome reasonable rules, said Pfadenhauer, who pines for a way to regulate the “bathroom behavior” of certain office slobs. “Would you leave that kind of a mess at home?” she asked.