One of the best features of TDS’ signature business product, managedIP Hosted, is that it breaks some of the chains that constrain your business – chains between locations and chains that bind employees to their desks.

While we’re all embracing this kind of flexibility in the workplace, a question I have is “Why?” In the case of businesses with multiple locations, it’s easy to understand. But why, in general, is the ideal of the virtual workplace so appealing?

Personally, I think part of it is because the modern workplace can be so unappealing. From the gray cubicle walls to the long commutes, going to work is kind of a drag. But, life isn’t full of unicorns and rainbows so unless we’re full time remote workers, we need to learn to deal with office annoyances.

Here are five of the worst workplace behaviors and how to fix them:

1. Microwave With Care: First, let’s address how awesome it is for employers to provide us with microwaves in the office kitchen or break room. Thank you! It’s much appreciated. But, with great (microwave) power comes great responsibility. If you microwave popcorn, pop it for the minimum time suggested and monitor it closely the whole time – no stepping away for a few seconds. Microwave popcorn is literally a ticking stank bomb and nothing stinks up an entire office quicker than burnt popcorn. If you’re microwaving fish, on the other hand, just stop.

2. Make Coffee: If you empty a container of coffee before 11 a.m., make more coffee. It’s that simple. No one is too important to make coffee. Making coffee isn’t just about keeping everyone caffeinated, it’s also a simple way to show respect for your coworkers.

3. Keep Your Germs To Yourself: We promise to love our spouses in sickness and in health. We don’t promise the same thing to our office mates. If you’re sick, stay home (you can even get your calls routed to your home phone!). If you must come to the office, lay low and invest in some hand sanitizer.

4. Show Some Scentsability: This is going to get a little awkward, but beware the B.O. I’m not just talking about skipping a shower in the morning, but also about strong perfumes and hand lotions. While you may love to drown yourself in Drakkar Noir not everyone will appreciate your 80s-inspired masculine sensibilities. So when in doubt, apply sparingly. And, this should go without saying, but don’t clip your nails at your desk. I know. I can’t believe this is a common problem either. But research shows that it is. C’mon people!

5. Use Your Inside Voice: Finally, our awesome Polycom phones help make conference calls crystal clear. Unfortunately, open office environments make every phone call crystal clear to your neighbors. So don’t put calls on speaker phone and don’t talk so loudly that everyone is all too well aware of the sordid details of your personal life. Actually, sordid details are interesting. Keep sharing those sordid details, but pipe down on the mundane details like what’s for dinner.

I suspect nothing is going to tarnish the allure of working from home, but if we can stamp out some of these annoyances, it just may make coming into the office, no matter how often, a little more fun.

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