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etiquette do's and don'ts men in officeEtiquette do’s and don’ts for men in the office can sometimes be confusing, especially for new hires. And, the confusion especially refers to how to engage appropriately with women in an office environment.

In this post, I share some specific business etiquette do’s and don’ts for men in the office. This awareness can prevent unintentional offense and keep you out of the HR office. Instead, you will be perceived as professional, respectful and gracious.

In short, today’s office etiquette is considered ‘gender neutral.’ In other words, actions such as introducing others and handshaking are based on precedence and not gender.

Therefore…etiquette do’s and don’ts for men in the office is mostly about awareness, such as the following:

  1. Do give women the same type of handshake as you give men. Business handshakes for both genders are the same. A two-pump, firm handshake gives a great first impression and sends a message of sincerity, trust and warmth.
  2. Do, when introducing two people, speak first the name of the person of higher precedence (position), regardless of gender. Speak last the name of the person of lower position. Introduction protocol is based on precedence (hierarchy), not gender. For example, if you are introducing Mary Smith, Sr. Exec. and Bill Jones, a Jr. Exec., speak Mary’s name first in the introduction and Bill’s last.
  3. Don’t compliment her dress or looks. These comments, even though expressed sincerely, are easily misunderstood in the workplace. Instead, compliment her work on a project or her positive attitude.
  4. Don’t pull out a chair for her at the conference table. In a social setting it’s appropriate for a man to seat the woman to his right, for example, at the restaurant table. But professional women don’t expect their male associates to seat them in a business meeting or business meal.
  5. Do hold a door, especially if her hands are full. But again, everything in business is considered ‘gender neutral. So, often a woman is okay opening the door herself if she reaches it before you do. An exception to this is if the woman is your boss. It is then appropriate for you to step quickly ahead as you approach the door to open it for her. (And, it’s proper etiquette to do the same for a male boss.)
  6. Don’t hug a woman, unless you’re expressing condolences. It’s better to give a 2-handed handshake. And if you do hug, make it a side hug rather than a front hug.
  7. Don’t wear too much fragrance. Just a dab will do. Not only do some people have allergic reactions to fragrances that others wear, you don’t want the entire hallway to linger with your scent as you get your morning coffee.

In summary, etiquette dos and don’ts for men in the office are mostly common sense. However, an awareness of ‘gender neutral’ and other business etiquette rules, helps men convey a professional image and lends to an office culture of respect.

You may also like to read: Workplace Etiquette: 4 ways to show courtesy to coworkers.

Rachel Wagner is a licensed business etiquette expert, speaker and trainer. You may contact her at 918.970.4400 for additional information on her business etiquette training services or to speak at your event.

Photo by Hunters Race on Unsplash