How to Improve Your Workplace Etiquette 3 | Business English

Let’s start off by defining workplace etiquette.

It refers to the professional standards for polite behavior in a work environment, encompassing communication, conduct, appearance, responsibilities, and respect that are all expected in the workplace.

Watch the video, read the content and complete the ACTIVITY towards the end of the lesson.

Don’t forget to like and follow us on YouTube and LinkedIn.

1) Etiquette in terms of ADMITTING MISTAKES

Admitting mistakes at work is important for trust and improvement. When you make an error, acknowledge it honestly without excuses.

Admit it in a calm, mature way, then outline how you’ll correct the mistake. This shows accountability and a desire to learn.

Example phrases:-

ADMITTING MISTAKES when discussing a report.

“I made a mistake by entering the wrong data into the report. I should have double-checked it. I will be more careful moving forward.

ADMITTING MISTAKES when discussing a project.

“My apologies. I wrote down the wrong project timeline during our planning meeting.”

“Sorry for the error. I accidentally omitted a crucial detail in the project summary.”

ADMITTING MISTAKES when discussing a client.

“My apologies for the confusion. I misunderstood the client’s requirements.”

ADMITTING MISTAKES when discussing finances.

“I regret to inform you that I miscalculated the budget projections for the upcoming quarter.”

2) Etiquette in terms of ASKING FOR HELP

Asking for help at appropriate times is professional and productive. When you are struggling with a task or unsure how to do something, politely request assistance.

Be specific in asking someone with relevant skills or experience. Importantly, show you have tried resolving it independently first.

Example phrases:-

ASKING FOR HELP when formatting a document.

“I’m struggling a bit with formatting this document. Could you spare a moment to show me some tips in Word? I’m still getting the hang of it.”

ASKING FOR HELP when preparing a presentation.

“Do you have suggestions for the Miller presentation? Your slides always have great visuals I could learn from.”

ASKING FOR HELP when accessing a database

“I’m having difficulty navigating the company’s database. Would you mind helping me understand how to extract the necessary data? I’ve tried on my own but could use some guidance.”

ASKING FOR HELP when discussing budgets

“I’m working on the budget for our department, and I know you have experience with financial analysis. Could I get your input on the projections? I want to make sure they are accurate.”

3) Etiquette in terms of OFFICE HOUSEKEEPING

Office housekeeping is about creating a shared space that is clean, organised, and beneficial to productive work by following guidelines related to cleanliness, noise, and responsible use of resources.

Example phrases:-

OFFICE HOUSEKEEPING when respecting shared spaces.

“I observed a few personal items left in the conference room. Let’s collectively make an effort to keep it clear for upcoming meetings.”

“Hi, after your conference room time, could you do a quick check to see if the whiteboard is clean and the markers are capped? It helps keep things ready for the next group. Many thanks, it’s appreciated.”

OFFICE HOUSEKEEPING when dealing with noise management.

“Excuse me, I don’t mean to interrupt, but we are working on some urgent projects. If possible, could the music volume be lowered slightly? We’d greatly appreciate it.”

“I apologise for interrupting, but the ringing phone is making it difficult to concentrate. Could we try putting our phones on vibrate or stepping out to take calls? It would really help our focus.”

OFFICE HOUSEKEEPING when dealing with general cleanliness.

“Let’s make an effort to clear our desks at the end of each day. It contributes to a more organised and pleasant workspace for everyone.”

“I noticed a minor spill in the kitchen. I’ll take care of it promptly. My apologies for any inconvenience.”


Sympathy and support are about offering support to colleagues during challenging times such as personal or professional difficulties.

It reflects a caring and compassionate workplace culture.

Example phrases:-

SYMPATHY AND SUPPORT when dealing with loss.

“I was deeply saddened to hear about the loss of your friend. Please accept my heartfelt condolences during this difficult time. If there’s anything I can do to support you or alleviate some of the burdens you may be feeling, please don’t hesitate to let me know.”

SYMPATHY AND SUPPORT when dealing with work-related stress.

“I understand that work has been particularly challenging for you lately. Please know that your well-being is important and I’m here to offer support however I can. If you need to discuss your workload or explore ways to manage stress, I’m available to help find solutions together.”

SYMPATHY AND SUPPORT when dealing with project or task challenges.

“Let’s discuss the challenges you’re facing on the project and together we can work on strategies to address them effectively.”

SYMPATHY AND SUPPORT when acknowledging efforts.

“Your efforts have not gone unnoticed. If you ever feel overwhelmed or need assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out. We are a team and we support each other.”