Cubes and speaker phones
Q: Is it considered acceptable or the new normal to have routine phone calls on speaker phone?
A: This seems to be a pet peeve for many folks and for good reason. Having calls on speaker phone is distracting for the others working around you. This is not the "new normal" and people should really make sure others are OK with this before doing it.
Q: How do you handle a co-worker who has a cynical, negative outlook yet also has a personality that appeals to the boss? She often is seen talking to the director one-on-one in the director's office. Many of her concerns relate to other's work, not her own.
A: For you to handle this person and your boss, you need to stick to making sure you are performing well so that the boss sees this (and does not rely on what the manipulator is telling them about you or others). This is key. Also, keep the focus on your job performance and try not to get into the whole "who said what" stuff. I know it is easier said than done.
Q: I like many types of food, so the lunch smells from my office mates sometimes help me make my dinner decision easier. Ummm, pizza it is! However, no employee should ever bring seafood/fish in the office and heat it up in the office microwave!
A: If you have a close-knit group of workers, you could at least talk about the issue to see what people think. Maybe there will be some type of agreement on foods to heat up, how quickly people should remove their food from the refrigerators, and so on. It is worth a try to calmly chat with co-workers about this as a first attempt.