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Business Etiquette

Welcome to this session looking at business etiquette and professionalism in the workplace. This is all about how we behave, the attitudes we have, and the actions we take when at work both physically and digitally, in comparison to how things might be when at college or in more social situations.

To get started, either by working individually or in small groups, try to define what we mean by being professional, what are some of the ways you might act and things you might say which are different from life outside of work.


– To understand what is meant by ‘professionalism’.
– To understand why being professional in the workplace is important.
– To understand what being professional looks like when working digitally.
– To consider how students can ensure they are being professional in their own context.

Online Professionalism

As work is becoming increasingly more digital, it’s important we think about professionalism when working online. Email remains the main form of communication in the business world but an email to a colleague is very different to an email to a friend or family member. Take a look at the examples of work emails, with a partner, talk about what is good about them, or what they could have done better.

Workplace Professionalism 

Not all workplaces are the same and what is meant by dressing professionally can be different depending on what type of work you do, the sector you’re in, perhaps the location of your workplace or even just the size of your team.

Take a look at each of the images below, and discuss what work settings might they be appropriately dressed for and what work settings might they be inappropriately dressed for.

Time Management

There’s always more to do at work so we have to be able to to prioritise what we do. Have a go at the prioritisation task below and then watch the final video for some top tips on time management.


Here is your  ‘to do’ list for the week ahead. Spend some time prioritising tasks and setting clear deadlines. Your working week is Monday to Friday 9 am to 5 pm each day. What does your calendar look like for the week?

  • You have 30 unanswered emails in your inbox 
  • You have 5 clients awaiting a call back form you –  each call might take between 15 and 30 mins.
  • There is an urgent meeting scheduled for 10 am on Monday that will last for at least 2 hours and that you are expected to attend
  • You need to arrange an in person meeting with an important client for this week that involves a 2 hour return journey 
  • You would like to take your team members out for a team building lunch this week
  • You have to complete a project plan that will take a whole afternoon and has to be completed by Wednesday
  • You are involved in 5 interviews for a new employee –  they will take 45 minutes each.There are 5 shortlisted candidates and interviews can be spread out across the week but must be completed by Friday. Interview notes must also be written up and submitted to your boss.
  • You have been asked to research possible venues for the staff Christmas meal in 6 weeks time, including prices and any other activities that would v]create an excellent event.
  • You have volunteered to help re-decorate the staff room with colleagues on Monday afternoon and don’t really want to back out.
  • There is an online seminar that has been suggested you attend that is relevant to your role. It is on Tuesday afternoon from 3pm to 5 pm.
  • You need to complete your application form for a promotion within the company and it has to be submitted by 4 pm on Thursday. It will take you at least 2 hours.
  • You need to collect your new company car from a local garage 1 hour away
  • You need to purchase your train tickets for next week’s conference that you are attending

You can read our top ten tips by clicking the button below:

Takeaway Questions

Use the Teams form for this tutorial session to answer the questions below:

– What are three examples of how you might sign-off the end of an email in a professional setting?
– Why is it important to present yourself in a professional manner?
– What are three examples for how you can present yourself professionally in a workplace?