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I don't usually stand when someone enters my cubicle, but I've been wondering lately if I'm supposed to. I'm an intern so almost everyone who comes to see me is a supervisor in some way. Is it rude not to stand? Also, is it rude to offer someone a chair without standing first?

  • I don't think that is rude, but if you stand up or stand up before offering someone a chair might makes other have better impression about you. – Revol729 Aug 16 '17 at 2:33
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    What country are you in? Do you notice other people standing up when a supervisor enters their cubicle? Sometimes the best way to learn etiquette is through observation. – AffableAmbler Aug 16 '17 at 2:33
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    I agree with AffableAmbler - this is entirely dependent on the culture in your office and geographical location. – HorusKol Aug 16 '17 at 2:37
  • @AffableAmbler I've never really seen anyone's supervisor enter their cubicle, they always just go to them, but I haven't been there long enough to really know who is senior to who either. – StarSweeper Aug 16 '17 at 3:18
  • @HorusKol, I added location tag. – StarSweeper Aug 16 '17 at 3:21
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If you're being introduced to someone for the first time -- a new colleague, a customer, etc., you generally stand up and shake their hand. Otherwise, it's generally OK to remain seated, and you don't need to shake hands. The possible exception might be for members of senior management, if these are people you don't interact with frequently.

Gender roles have shifted over time, but it used to be the case that men stood up to shake hands, while women would remain seated (and gentleman would stand up when a lady entered or left a room). I doubt there's any such distinction anymore in the American workplace.

I'm a programmer, so I have worked with introverts who don't even turn around in their chairs when you enter their cubes, so there's a wide spectrum of behavior, and every office has its culture.

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As someone who's worked in a rather small cubicle for the last 5 years, and a couple of years in a previous role, I have to say no, it's not rude. Nor do I expect my co-workers to stand when I enter their area.

The only exception may be if the co-worker needs to sit to type something on your computer, such as to install software or make some sort of configuration change or the like.

  • I would stand up for external visitors or higher ups (like my boss' boss). Standing up for regular visits from colleagues or my direct manager would become a nuisance soon. – Roland Aug 16 '17 at 7:59
  • As a fellow small cubicle dweller, I'm not even sure there's enough space for me to stand up if someone visits. If I were to do so, the visitor would be in the aisle or we'd be uncomfortably close. – alroc Aug 16 '17 at 13:07
  • @alroc my current cube is similarly small, although my previous one was much larger. – Herb Wolfe Aug 16 '17 at 13:09
  • If my co-workers stood when I entered a cubicle or room it would interfere with the kowtowing I expect. – PoloHoleSet Aug 16 '17 at 14:28
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Is it rude not to stand? Also, is it rude to offer someone a chair without standing first?

In the US, in general, it's fine to remain seated when another employee enters your cubicle. Similarly you can offer a chair without standing.

On the other hand, if the person entering is a customer (say, you are an automobile salesman), then you should stand.

Most work in the US is rather informal these days.

If you aren't sure, just notice what others around you do. If you happen to work in one of the few companies that remains very formal and you see others standing whenever anyone enters their cubicle, then simply follow their lead.

  • Just curious, as I don't want to start another question for essentially the same topic: Do you handle things the same way for an office? I agree with the sitting-is-fine thing, and personally would stand to offer a chair as a normal rule, but as a developer we all have our own office with a door, so I'm curious as to someone else's opinion. – SliderBlackrose Aug 16 '17 at 13:35

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