Architecture Office Etiquette

By Chanel Dehond. M.Arch. B.A.S.

Figure 1. Backseat Architect

1. Earphones are a must if you listen to anything on your computer (one in and one out).

2. Don’t leave until your boss leaves.

3. Clean up after yourself.

4. Don’t continue conversations on the toilet.

5. Keep a pen on you at all times.

6. One hour lunch is a euphemism for 30 minutes max.

7. If you catch a colleague on Facebook — do not point and stare — turn a blind eye.

8. Alert the office before a large print or plot job.

9. Never refer to your office as an “office” or “firm,” “studio” is the preferred term.

10. Nod and show signs of listening.

11. Limit your boyfriend or cat* pics to 5% of the number of office employees. *adjust as needed

12. Office supplies cannot be claimed, they are a shared commodity.

13. At least make an appearance at the lunch and learn before taking said food (or wait 5 minutes until after it’s over).

14. Say good morning when you arrive, and good night when you leave… at 11:30 pm.

15. Don’t talk behind your colleagues’ backs and don’t complain (it’s a bad idea).

16. Try to write neatly, especially if another colleague has to read it.

17. Don’t bring a smelly lunch.

18. Swear words are fine, but rude hand gestures are not.

19. Never be a “backseat architect” a.k.a. never sit behind a coworker when you’re at their computer, always beside (Figure 1).

20. Don’t always trust lists you read about architecture office etiquette.