One of the biggest mistakes you can make in your career is not understanding that there are certain codes and rules to abide by in the workplace. If you’re not careful, you may even lose opportunities because others are put off by your lack of professionalism.



Etiquette is positive. It’s a way of being—not a set of rules or dos and don’ts.


 Don’t Listen to Your Music Player in the Elevator.

and don’t check your e-mail messages. “Wearing earplugs is like putting a Do Not Disturb sign on you”. It sends a message to colleagues that you want to be left alone, an unfriendly gesture at best.

Elevators and hallways are prime spots for friendly, positive interactions with colleagues. Use them.


 Open-plan Office and Cubicles.

If you are working in an open plan office try to announce yourself verbally, calling or e-mailing in advance and asking if you can drop by at an appointed time.


 For Bosses.

It’s bad boss etiquette to harass your employees with notes after hours or on the weekend. If you receive a call from your boss during the weekend , you can safely ignore it for 24hs. You are being more than polite by doing that.



 Avoid Excessively Casual Office Attire.

Casual dress etiquette should be clear. Dress code: Business casual/smart casual?


 On Your Feet!

Stand when meeting someone and/or shaking hands. Nothing irks me more than seeing someone meet someone new in a business (or personal, for that matter) setting, and remaining seated while being introduced and/or shaking hands.


 Call Back.

If you want to come across professionally (and even classy), return phone calls promptly. It’s good business etiquette, and besides, it’s something that your competitor may not even be doing


 Failure to Smile and be Friendly.

Keeping a smile on your face not only makes others respond to you in a friendlier manner and want to repeat business with you, but it makes you feel better as well.



  You Are Right!

Spend your time telling your potential customers what they do Right and not what they do Wrong!


 Discussing Personal Problems at Work.

Deal with work issues at work and home issues at home.


 Don’t be a Business Card Pusher.

Don’t simply hand out business cards to everyone you meet. It’s a bit aggressive unless you’re on a sales call. Ask for the other person’s card, offer to exchange cards or at the very least, ask if you can leave your card before you reach in your pocket.


 The Art of Appreciation.

Impress your clients and JV partners by communicating appreciation. Stating “thank you” will elevate you above competitors. Whether large or small, the gesture will have an impact. Use Thank You cards, or create a thank you email template you can personalize.


 Remember the Names.

When you remember the names of those you do business with, you stand out. Remember by repeating names right back and use them throughout your conversation. Write down your contacts, or get their business cards and write notes on the back.


 Don’t Play with Your Hair During a Meeting. 

It’s better to put your hair back, maybe tight in a ponytail. You should also refrain from brushing your hair or applying makeup at your desk.


 Double Check Before you Hit Send.  

Check Your CC and always check you e-mails for spelling and grammar errors.


 Hold Back on the Perfume.

When it comes to fragrance there are “a lot of people who overdo it.” It’s disruptive and many people are allergic to it. If you can’t control yourself, don’t wear it at all.


  The Interrupter.

One of the worst etiquette no-no’s are people who interrupt others either in a business conversation or a presentation. It’s a sign of  “poor social skills”.


Remember that the main purpose of proper etiquette is to make others feel at ease around you, and to build relationships.  Concentrate on that, and everything else should fall into place.



Myriam Balerio is the founder and writer of PA Privé. After kick starting her career as a PA and finding success as an assistant, Myriam later trained in digital and online marketing and has since combined the two disciplines in creating PA Privé, the platform through which she provides sage advice for those in the assistant profession and a network for like-mined PAs and EAs to connect. Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Myriam has lived in London for over 10 years and currently lives in London with her husband and French bulldog.


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