British Office Etiquette

Welcome to British office etiquette 101.  There are many unspoken rules along with some tricky traps and NO ONE will help you navigate the murky waters of working in a British office.  Except for me of course.  The struggle is real.  Luckily, I am here to help. You are welcome.


There are no other hot drinks apparently.  Don’t even think about coffee or you could risk office excommunication. It does happen.

The ‘tea round.’

You need to ask your colleagues at least twice a week if they would like a cup of tea and how they take it. Oh and you better brush up on the difference between white sugar, Demerara sugar, sweetener, semi-skimmed milk and full-fat milk. Yup.


Happy Birthday! That means YOU buy the cake and share it with your colleagues. That’s right. When it comes to birthday cards you will find a brown envelope on your desk. Open it.  Inside is a birthday card for your colleague.  Sign the card. Don’t know the person that well? Completely irrelevant. Sign it mate. Along with your name the following message is acceptable: ‘happy birthday.’


The UK and Europe in general is pretty generous with sick leave (and holidays too). But here are some things you need to know before you contract bubonic plague:

-Sick leave on a Monday. Nope. Your colleagues will assume you are suffering from a hangover from the weekend.

-Sick leave on Friday. Nope. Your colleagues will assume you are suffering from a hangover from Thursday drinks. Thursday is the new Friday BTW.

I hope this has helped. I sure wish someone had told me these things. Live and learn I guess.

Cheers Y’all



  1. Paula Kiger (Big Green Pen) · September 5, 2015

    Fun! Who knew?!

    • samdfb1 · September 5, 2015

      I know! Thanks for stopping by!

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