More than likely your office life takes place within the gray walls of a cubicle. Sadly, this creates rat-like mazes and forces humans to live within tiny cells and stare at computer screens.
But according to this piece by Jill Bremer of Bremer Communications, there is a standard of behavior that makes living in a world of cubes a little more bearable.
One of the key factors to living successfully in a cubicle is the issue of privacy. According to Bremer, "Never enter someone's cubicle without permission. Behave as though cubicles have doors. Do not enter before you have eye contact 'permission' from the occupant," – and don't sneak up on anyone working in their space.
She also discourages the habit of "prairie-dogging" which is popping over the top of your cubicle to look into another. Another statement she suggests can make life easier is, "Resist answering a question you overheard asked in the cube next to you!"
As for dealing with phones Bremer suggests answering your phone quickly with a maximum of two rings. She also suggests being cautious with the use of speakerphones, ringer volume and even the volume at which you speak into the phones. When you have to make a personal call, remember that those around you within their cubes can hear you.
Finally, when talking and making noise, try to use a "library voice" as Bremer calls it. Use a conference room when you have to speak to people instead of loitering outside of a cubicle. Keep your radios low and set your cell phone to vibrate.
All of these rules can help make surviving in a world of cubicles easier. Granted, whether or not cubicles, by their very nature, utterly de-humanize workers, is not addressed, but it can make getting through the work day a little more pleasurable.