Q: Is it appropriate for a midlevel manager to conduct several conference calls a day from his cube, disrupting everyone around him?
A: Calls from a cubicle are a conundrum. On the one hand, it’s where you work; you need to be able to to make calls from your workplace. On the other hand, an overly loud conversation or worse yet, using the speakerphone, can interrupt people sitting nearby and hurt their ability to get their work done. In general, any time you think your use of the phone is going to cause a problem for the people around you, seek out an alternative space such as someone’s office or an unused conference room to conduct the call. As for the manager, if he’s using the phone as he would for regular calls — and these don’t ordinarily disturb others — then his use of the phone for a conference call is not inappropriate in and of itself. If his conference calls are particularly disturbing, the question is why. Are other people in his cube participating on the call? Is he using the speakerphone for these calls? Is he talking extra loudly because it’s a conference call? If so, these behaviors are not appropriate for a cubicle and should be taken elsewhere.