JUST SAYIN: Office perks or peculiar quirks

FOR the past couple of months, I've had the delight of working directly from an office filled with really interesting people.

Seeing that I've worked in a fairly solitary environment for the last three years as an author, the experience has given me an interesting insight to the inner workings and acceptable etiquette of operating in an open office space.

Firstly, there are noises - lots of noises. I'm surprised the varying sounds one human is able to produce in a day.

Coughs and sneezes are the best way for people to give you a wide berth, but on the same token, calling in sick puts so much pressure on everyone else in the office that it's never really appreciated - ever.

Then there are smells. Sometimes the smells from the kitchen are so good that your stomach joins in on the wonderful office soundtrack, and other times you wish you had no sense of smell at all.

It's surprising how quickly you learn the art of sign language when you don't want people in the cubicle next to you to hear what you're saying to your colleague.

On the other hand, there are some conversations that make you wish you could un-hear the whole thing, or if you're like me, you wish you had popcorn on hand to enjoy the show.

Loud laughing always attracts the attention of the entire office, which in turn distracts everyone - I may be part of the cause of that one, on both parts.

There are the people who are way too happy first thing in the morning, and there are people you avoid until at least midday or when you have seen a coffee in their hand.

And then there is the wonder of sharing a communal toilet.

In my office, I have discovered an assortment of toilet users.

One person, no matter how long you sit there too, just refuses to do the business - I've coined this person as the stage-frighter.

Or the opposite is the conversational urinater - their conversation flows as easily as their bladder, and they are not ashamed of either.

There's another person who is the chronic germ-a-phobe. They like to wipe and spray with entire toilet at least three times prior to use - every time!

I'm sure we've all been in an office with at least one of these people, and it sure has made my time in the wondrous melting-pot of office life extremely interesting.

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