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Business Etiquette

Professional office etiquette isn’t as simple as it once was. Now there’s email etiquette, office meeting etiquette, and more.

Business Management Daily’s business etiquette tips will help you main professional etiquette at all times. Our office etiquette tips will help you put your best foot forward.

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Question: “After meeting with a customer or supplier, my boss often asks me to send a follow-up e-mail. I always debate whether or not to copy him in my e-mail. I want him to know how and what I said to the person, but I’m not sure how it makes him look. What is the appropriate thing to do? Should I copy him on the e-mail? Should I forward the e-mail to him later? Do I need to copy him since he asked me to handle it?” — E.J.

Social media, such as blogs, Facebook and Twitter, are leading to confusion over what’s appropriate: Should your boss be your Facebook friend? Can you “tweet” about work? What would your firm’s VP say about your mentioning him in your blog? Some tips from etiquette expert and labor lawyer Joseph Clees:

Good communication skills are more valuable than knowing PowerPoint inside and out, according to a new survey, in which 67% of human resources managers said they would hire someone with strong soft skills even if their technical abilities were lacking. The way HR managers see it, technical skills are easier to teach than soft skills.

Question: “I am a female executive assistant who works for a female boss. When I answer her telephone line, the callers often mistake me for her. I have been answering the phone, ‘Dianne Smith’s office, this is Mary Lynn speaking.’ Does anyone have a better suggestion?” — Mary Lynn Burrows

Technology is blurring the lines between work and leisure and revealing real tensions between Gen Y, Gen X and baby boomer employees. The generations have very different ideas about what is and isn’t an appropriate use of technology in the office. Here's one simple solution for bridging the gap.

Question:  “Last year, a woman in our company wore a red satin corset, tight skirt and eight-inch platform heels to the holiday party. Although this outfit was not particularly revealing, one of the vice presidents thought it was “trashy looking.”  She believes employees should dress conservatively at business functions because they are still representing the company. Our executive team did not object to the “corset outfit” and prefers not to dictate what people should wear to office parties. However, the offended vice president, who is one of our top salespeople, refuses to attend any function where this type of dress is allowed. As the HR manager, I need some advice on how to resolve this issue.” —  Caught in the Middle




Problem: "I'm in charge of turning on the dishwasher each night before leaving. To some, this translates to my also being in charge of cleaning up after everyone. Several memos have been distributed ... but have not been successful. Any ideas? I'm tired of being known as the office maid. My name is not Hazel!"

We’ve all been told a thousand times that to increase our influence and effectiveness, we need to write personal thank-you notes. Here’s the right way to do it, as evidenced by a 1991 note from George H.W. Bush to Goldie Hawn.

Lavish office parties are as distant a memory as mimeograph machines for most workers. This year, as companies cinch their belts a little tighter than usual, how are you handling the holiday office party? Administrative professionals weighed in with their suggestions on our Admin Pro Forum:

Question:  “I know that applicants should send a thank-you note after a job interview, so I normally fax a letter within one or two days. However, I have some questions about the process. When I’m interviewed by several people, should I include all the names on one letter or send an individual note to each person?  If I send separate letters, can they all have the same wording or should each one be different? Finally, if interviewers fail to give me a business card, what do I do if I’m not sure how to spell their names?” -- Puzzled

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