Manners at Office
a presentation at BPATC
Syed Masud Mahmood Khundoker
Additional Foreign Secretary
24 / 02 / 2022
the presentation Plan
Part – I :: Opening Remarks -
Importance of Manners/Code of Conduct at Office
Part – II :: Manners -
Part – III :: Gender Sensitivity -
Definition & Types
Part – IV :: Q & A
WHY WE NEED TO OBSERVE …..
Moral Aspects ::
• We must respect and practise Human Values;
• We provide services to public – we’re CIVIL Servants;
• Common people look for ‘ideals’ in public servants;
• We represent …. .. .
• We care about Progeny; etc.
• Conduct & Discipline rules [ of Bangladesh ]
• UN and IOs follow certain norms that are well accepted across the globe [ ILO Convention ]
• Maintain office decorum
• Sincerity, Honesty, Patriotism, Values of Liberation(’71);
• Know your duty, responsibility and entitlements;
• Remember that you are acting on behalf of 16cr people;
• Remember you represent GoB;
• Patience – it is gentleman’s norms;
• Common Sense – sharpen it !
• Follow Dress Code
• No sounds while walking; No mannerism:
• No cross-legged sitting
• No loud voice in conversation; mind your sound bites
• Be specially respectful to your lady colleagues - junior or senior;
• Don't cut jokes everywhere,mind your language;
• No excessive loyalty - maintain your own dignity;
• Must follow certain norms in dealing with your ‘friend’ who is now your ‘colleague’
Q: Is personal ‘appearance’ part of office manners ?
• Arrange your Table - Chair and Sofa according to the room lay-out
• Keep your office tidy and encourage your staff members to do so
• No towel on chair, no flashy items on the table and in the room
• Appropriate maintenance and use of Govt properties
• Be attentive to security measures
• Are you serving teas to your guests ? - engage the staff in maintaining norms & etiquette
• Your 'wash room' reveals your sense of civility
• Be timely in office
• Be courteous and respectful in dealing with people including office staff
• Observe Telephone manners
• Avoid siting or standing crossed-legs
• Listen to staff / junior with adequate attention lest they feel neglected
• Don't gossip with staff members, however inquire sometimes about their well being;
treat them sometimes with tea /snacks.
• Appreciate any good work.
At work (contd.)
• Meet Seniors periodically
• Do not hesitate to say 'sir' to others; exchange greetings
• Nurture Team Work spirit
• Observe administrative discipline and chain of command
• Some times a Request comes in the form of Order -don't feel offended !
• Seek permission if you're leaving office early, or going out for a long while
• Follow up /feed back is always important
• Attend timely, if possible a bit early so that you can interact with others ahead of the
• Occupy the designated seat,
• Intervene appropriately with approval of the chair
• Don't show your 'superiority' in understanding the subject -put forward your opinion /
observation with all humbleness/humility
• Listen attentively to what others say
• Don't argue with seniors / colleagues and, Don't suppress/reject right way any opinion
of anyone particularly juniors
• If you're referring to any particular person, address appropriately
June 2019, the Centenary Conference of the International Labour Organization (ILO) adopted
the Violence and Harassment Convention (No.190) and its accompanying Recommendation (No. 206).
Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature which makes a person feel offended,
humiliated and/or intimidated. It includes situations
(i) where a person is asked to engage in sexual activity as a condition of employment, and
(ii) which create an environment which is hostile, intimidating or humiliating for the recipient.
Sexual harassment incidents//actions may be Physical, Verbal and Non-verbal,
that include but not limited to :
i. Physical conduct –
Unwelcome physical contact including patting, pinching, stroking, kissing, hugging, fondling, or
Physical violence, including sexual assault
Physical contact, e.g. touching, pinching
The use of job-related threats or rewards to solicit sexual favours .
ILO guidelines (contd…)
[Sexual harassment incidents//actions may be Physical, Verbal and Non-verbal, that include but not limited to:]
ii. Verbal conduct –
Comments on a worker’s appearance, age, private life, etc.
Sexual comments, stories and jokes
Repeated and unwanted social invitations for dates or physical intimacy
Insults based on the sex of the worker
Condescending or paternalistic remarks
Sending sexually explicit messages (by phone or by email)
iii. Non-verbal conduct –
Display of sexually explicit or suggestive material
Gender Sensibility : mind your language !
Practice gender inclusive language (avoid gender-biased expressions) .
Discriminatory examples -
• “She throws/runs/fights like a girl.”
• “In a manly way.”
• “Oh, that’s women’s work.”
• “Thank you to the ladies for making the room more beautiful.”
• “Men just don’t understand.”
Some more examples :
biased expressions Inclusive expressions
Guests are cordially invited to attend with their wives. Guests are cordially invited to attend with their
partners / spouses
Fathers babysit their children. Fathers care for their children.
Before submitting your document, send it to the focal point
for his/her review; he/she will return it to you with comments.
Before submitting your document, send it to the focal point
for their review; they will return it to you with comments.
Gender neutral/inclusive language
Less inclusive More inclusive
Plans to outsource some 19 services have not proceeded at the
anticipated pace, as there aresignificant manpower shortages.”
“Plans to outsource some 19 services have not proceeded at the
anticipated pace, as there are significant staffing shortages.”
A staff member in Antarctica earns less than he would in New
“A staff member in Antarctica earns less than one in New York.” Use
If a complainant is not satisfied with the board’s decision, he can
ask for a rehearing.”
“A complainant who is not satisfied with the board’s decision can ask for a
‘Mankind’ “Humankind”; “humanity”; “human race” Neutral
‘Man-made’ “Artificial”; “human-caused”
A substitute judge must certify that he has
familiarized himself with the record of the proceedings.”
“Substitute judges must certify that they have
familiarized themselves with the record of the proceedings.”
A person must reside continuously in the Territory for 20 years
before he may apply for permanent residence.”
“A person must reside continuously in the Territory for 20 years before
applying for permanent residence.”
The author of a communication must have direct and reliable
evidence of the situation he is describing.”
“The author of a communication must have direct and reliable evidence of
the situation being described.”
Gender Sensibility (contd..)
How do I know if I am using discriminatory language?
Reverse the gender : Would reversing the designation or the term from masculine to feminine or vice
versa change the meaning or emphasis of the sentence? Would it make the sentence sound odd?
• “Women should not seek out leadership positions.”
• “Men cannot do two things at the same time.”
some DOs and DON’Ts
Don’t compliment a lady’s dress or looks at office. These comments, even though
expressed sincerely, are easily misunderstood in the workplace. Instead, compliment her work
on a project or her positive attitude.
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
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.)
Don’t go for a hug with her, 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.