Business Etiquette Tips: How to be a Gentleman at the Office

Gentlemen, it is time to start being a gentleman in the office. Not only do you not have to be rude and unprofessional, there are many benefits that come with this new-found etiquette. From increasing your salary potential by 85% to having better relationships at work and home, gentlemen will find themselves more fulfilled as they progress through their career

The “art of manliness respect” is a book that teaches you how to be polite and respectful in the office. The book also offers tips on how to dress for success, how to ask for a raise, and much more.

Vintage man speaking to women in office.

Business etiquette is fairly similar to social etiquette in terms of norms.

However, there is a distinction between the two kinds of etiquette.

In the social realm, it is assumed that you and your friends are on an equal footing, with certain age and sex differences taken into account.

The commercial world, on the other hand, is structured in a hierarchical manner. There is a hierarchy whether you work for a conventional, highly stratified organization or a contemporary, informal upstart, whether it is spelt out or simply unsaid. To see what occurs, just tread on some toes. Employees should submit to their bosses, merchants to customers, and searchers to sought-afters, according to business etiquette.

This contrast in the dynamics of social and professional relationships explains why, outside of work, you always present the guy to the lady, yet in the business world, you introduce people based on their position and significance, independent of gender. So, instead of saying, “Mr. Robert BigCheese, I’d want to present Mrs. Samantha Underling from accounting,” you’d say, “Mr. Robert BigCheese, I’d like to introduce Mrs. Samantha Underling from accounting.” (Note that if Mr. Graham were meeting a customer (of either gender) rather than an underling, the client’s name would come first; the seller defers to the buyer.)

This is also why your supervisor may refer to you by your first name, but you should not do so unless he or she has directly asked you to do so.

Another distinction between the norms of etiquette in the social and commercial sectors is that etiquette in the social arena does not have to be efficient or practical; in fact, this might be part of its allure. In the workplace, however, tradition is less important than getting the job done.

In a social scenario, you should stand when a woman enters the room; at work, you should rise from your desk when greeting guests of any gender; and you should not stand every time a female secretary or assistant passes in and out of your office.

Apart from those qualifiers, the norms of business and social etiquette are quite similar; it’s all about acting with integrity, recognizing the acceptable conduct for a given scenario, behaving in respectful ways, and treating people the way you’d want to be treated.

While certain aspects of business etiquette have their own articles, today we’ll focus on some basic dos and don’ts for being a gentleman at work.

The Dos 

Respectful attire is required. Every day, keep yourself clean and attractive. At the very least, adhere to the company dress code—and don’t be the person who always follows it. Of course, dressing a cut above the others is nice, but just a cut. Dressing up in a way that goes above and beyond what everyone else is wearing will come off as putting on airs.

On a related topic, although you may remove your jacket and roll up your sleeves throughout the day, if you have guests in the office or are making calls, you should put your jacket back on and create a professional image that reflects good on your firm.


Brush your teeth and wash your body before coming to work. Your coworkers are trapped in a confined area with you for eight or more hours each day. Don’t make them avoid your cubicle like the plague as they debate whether or not giving you a gift basket of soap and chewing gum would be too overt.

Maintain a friendly relationship with your coworkers. Unlike friends, you cannot opt to quit meeting your coworkers if things get unpleasant. No, if you make an awkward split with a coworker, you’ll have to stare at their despicable face every day for months, if not years. As a result, maintain a cordial relationship with them. This entails not prying too deeply into your personal life, avoiding discussions about religion and politics, and, in general, opting to overlook irritating behaviors rather than bringing them up (although every man has his breaking point).

When it comes to dating at work, only do it if you have a genuine connection with her. If you do pursue a relationship with a coworker, check your company’s policy on such relationships and notify HR.

Keep corporate secrets under wraps. Our Wikileaks-obsessed generation laughs at the idea of keeping anything secret. Yes, your company’s secrets may seem to be so mundane or inconsequential that it isn’t worth the effort to keep them hidden. But it doesn’t matter since they’re still no one’s business. Even if exposing secrets does not result in any damage to your firm, it will make you seem reckless.

So, when receiving visitors, keep your files tucked away, guard your end of the phone conversation when a visitor is nearby, and if outsiders ask you questions that could reveal company secrets, simply give intentionally vague answers–never volunteer any information that could not have been gleaned from the news. If the information is genuinely private, do not transmit it by email. There is no such thing as a “private” email; your corporation can monitor it, and it may occasionally be recovered long after it has been “erased.”

Finally, don’t give out more information than is required: “Dan isn’t in today,” rather than “Dan isn’t here.” He’ll be meeting with Dyna Corp’s mergers and acquisitions director.”

Instead of working against your employer, collaborate with him. Keep him up to date. Allow him to know when you’ve made a mistake so he doesn’t paint himself into a corner. Back him up–rather than expressing your frustrations in a public gathering, tell him privately if you have issues about anything.

Replace something after you’ve used the last of it. Replace the paper and make another pot, whether it’s the final paper in the copy machine or the last cup of coffee in the coffee maker. Don’t whistle as you cautiously slink away from a copy machine paper clog. It should be fixed.

Respect and be courteous to your subordinates. They are the ones who keep the office functioning. You never know whether that poor clerk may become your boss one day.


The chain of command must be respected. Both above and downwards Make sure you don’t tread on anyone’s toes. Without your boss’s approval, don’t go over his or her head.

Hold the door open for passengers who are about to enter the elevator. Don’t hide in the corner, quietly hoping that the doors would shut as soon as possible.

If you’re utilizing speaker phone, let the person(s) you’re talking to know who else is on the line before you start talking. That way, kids won’t be confused if another person’s voice appears unexpectedly afterwards.

Every now and again, bring doughnuts or bagels to a meeting. This isn’t something you’re supposed to do. However, if you succeed, you will be a hero.

Dos and Don’ts

The buck stops with you. Making excuses reflects on your character more than acknowledging a mistake does on your skills. You demonstrate yourself to be a lousy leader if you blame an underling, since you should have ensured that the work was done appropriately. If you blame an equal, you’ll come out as a whiner and risk souring your connection with someone you’ll have to deal with in the future. And if you blame someone higher up, common sense says it’s not a smart idea to enrage the people who control your employment.

Attend meetings late. Your tardiness disrupts the meeting and may cause it to run longer if they have to wait for you to arrive or if they have to catch you up on what has already been discussed.

Sit at someone’s desk for a while. There’s nothing wrong with saying hello to your cubicle mate. However, if your coworker shows symptoms of attempting to return to work after some quick chit-chat, walk on!

Consume the food of others. The incident that sparked a thousand passive-aggressive tweets.

Listen in on confidential phone conversations between coworkers. Obviously, if someone is conversing in the cubicle next to you, you can’t help but hear what they’re saying. However, you may easily act as though you are deafeningly deafeningly deafeningly dea In other words, don’t mosey up to Bob and inquire, “What’s the matter with young Johnny, Bob?” if he just got off the phone after an altercation with his teenage son. Allow your coworker to start the discussion with you if he wants to. Consider what you heard to be off-limits if you don’t know what you’re talking about.

Without headphones, listen to the radio, music, or YouTube videos. Not everyone likes Enya as much as you do.

Allow your personal life to interfere with your professional life. Maintain a professional demeanor at all times. This does not imply that you are chilly or distant from people. What this implies is that your personal life should only be a little distraction from your career. You don’t come in late because you were out the night before, you don’t ask for a raise because you recently had a baby, and you don’t spend half your time at work fighting with your ex-wife over alimony payments.


Return to your former workplace. Now we return to the original premise of the article: the corporate world is distinct from the social sphere. When you have deep ties in the social realm, the assumption is that they would continue no matter where life takes you. You may form tight bonds with your coworkers at work, but such bonds often dissipate after you leave. When you leave a firm to pursue another opportunity, don’t expect to be greeted like a long-lost buddy when you return. People will find the scenario uncomfortable, and you will come off as a bit of a jerk.

Return to your former workplace. Now we return to the original premise of the article: the corporate world is distinct from the social sphere. When you have deep ties in the social realm, the assumption is that they would continue no matter where life takes you. You may form tight bonds with your coworkers at work, but such bonds often dissipate after you leave. When you leave a firm to pursue another opportunity, don’t expect to be greeted like a long-lost buddy when you return. People will find the scenario uncomfortable, and you will come off as a bit of a jerk.

What are some more dos and don’ts for being a gentleman at work? Let us know what you think in the comments!



Frequently Asked Questions

What are the proper etiquette in office work?

A: It is important to be polite and courteous while in the office. This includes things like making sure your phone isnt ringing or you are taking short breaks when asked, listening to colleagues who have more knowledge than yourself, not interrupting someone elses work with questions if they seem busy, etc.

What are 5 basics of business etiquette?

A: 1. Shake hands when meeting someone for the first time,
2. Speak briefly with acquaintances before moving on to friends or strangers that you know well,
3. Greet everyone politely and say goodbye upon leaving a conversation even if its not your turn to speak, 4. Thank people who help you out in social situations like inviting them places and organizing parties so they dont feel obligated to keep doing things for you later on down the line (try asking instead of assuming), 5. Hold doors open for others if necessary

What are the dos and donts in office?

A: There are a few dos and donts in general when it comes to office etiquette. Some of these include taking off your shoes before entering someones room, not chewing gum at work, turning down the volume on headphones or speakers while youre talking with others, etc.

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