Ecards and etiquette

Informal offices and casual dressing may be in, but is etiquette on its way out?

Today’s office cubes mix fun with work seamlessly.  You are on first name basis with your CEO. You wear shorts to work, surf the internet, watch TV and work out. At work. With today’s unrestricted casual settings, the mantra is – get the work done on time and have fun along the way. But are we getting carried away with casualness?

Take ecards for example. Sending and receiving ecards on special occasions is common practice. Most people check their emails at work. So ecards also get opened at work.

Ecards cheer you up, make you feel better. But, they could also be distracting. Especially to coworkers. Most offices have an open floor plan. What goes on in one cube is visible and audible in nearby cubes. So, while you are chuckling at a great ‘Knock Knock’ joke ecard or smiling at a funny musical birthday ecard, your colleague in the next cube is probably cringing as he tries to concentrate amidst the racket. The same goes for people talking loudly, using cell phones or playing loud music or video games. Yes, it’s your free time to spend as you please, but, we also need to be considerate of those around us.

We enjoy many perks at work that previous generations did not. But it is our responsibility to use those perks carefully. Why not use headphones, as you open the free ecard? Or use your lunch break to play music or games.

Work place restrictions may be ancient history, but etiquette is timeless. Do you agree?