Why is office etiquette important? Surely, we can behave, dress and speak the way we want, Right?

Not really, we must consider that we are sharing common areas from basement parking lots to meeting rooms. There is a certain level of common courtesy that critical in order to have a sound and conducive working environment. How we present ourselves speaks volumes in relation to our personal brands and how that brand speaks to a role model CHARTERED ACCOUTANT.

The Dress Code


Have sneakers replaced brogue oxfords and T-shirts replaced the cut-away double cuff Egyptian cotton shirts? Well it seems that there is an international shift in the way that millennials dress up for business. The world has seen a massive shift from tailored suits to a more relaxed “Dress for your day approach”, we have also seen this phenomenon in Professional services firms.

Sillicon Valley has seen a boom in the Jeans and T shirt culture, Entrepreneurs such as Richard Branson and Elon Mask are hardly spotted in formal wear. The catch is that they are already at the Top of the fruit chain when it comes to their respective fields. What I find interesting is that whenever one goes for an interview then they have the 3-piece suits freshly pressed from the dry-cleaners, this also includes important meetings even Facebook’s Mark Zuckerburg was spotted at The Facebook Senate hearing in a clean, notch lapel French Navy double vented suit. This is an indicator that when we have important engagements then the “BRAND SELF” dresses up instead of dressing down.

Perception Is paramount

There is a clear psychological impression that we would like to portray with dressing up, does that mean that dressing down in the office is not taking the business seriously? My humble opinion dressing up is a sign of respect and has statue within the organisation.  As professionals it seems we have lost the brand identity of how a professional should look and behave. I am yet to see a Neurologist get into theatre with shorts and a T because that is what the client dresses like. Many a times I have had debates with colleagues that argue that clients feel intimidated when they dress up and my answer is consistently “AS PROFESSIONALS THERE IS AN EXPECTED LEVEL OF ETIQUETTE AND IT STARTS WITH HOW WE LOOK”.

With the profession being under the micro-scope as it is, isn’t it time that we take back the professional outlook by walking into chosen fields of expertise, with tailored suits and well-polished shoes? We need to remember that we are not selling audit, tax and advisory, we are selling an experience. People will always remember how you made them feel. It is highly imperative to have a consistent professional behaviour, which starts with our appearance.



The level of grooming has also seen a slump with Professionals looking like they are going to a concert on the weekend with their friends. The grooming starts with personal hygiene and respecting that we are working with other people within the organisations. We have fallen into the façade of “OH THEY MILLENIALS” an excuse to be atrociously to be well-groomed. Being millennials means being at the forefront of disruption with class and self-respect. In any social stance there are written and unwritten rules that need to be adhered to, in order to have a sound social cohesion.

This is not a “Do or DON’T” Article instead a thought proving piece on the level of professionalism as current and future leaders of the profession.

We need to maintain a level Decorum within the business environment in order to be taken seriously on a day to day. Having understood that there are different generations within the business namely generation X and millennials one ought to bring the two together. The age difference has engraved methodologies however grooming is a MUST for both Generations.

Manners and Language

“MANNERS MAKETH MAN” by virtue of us being Young professionals we need to still maintain a level of respect within our organizations. The way we behave needs to be in line with the dress-code, grooming as well as how we address each other.

Etiquette also relates to the way we write, be it email or even formal letters. We are in an era of sms language which can be cool for WhatsApp but not necessarily a professional engagement. We should ensure that we always keep the level of professionalism high.

Professional language is equally important as we interact with people from all-walks of life, this means that we need to be ensure that we always use appropriate professional language. Open and honest communication is critical in order to build a sound work environment.

Remember it takes years to build a reputation, however one moment to lose it all.