Cards for Co-workers: Generic or personal?

Q: Is it okay to send a photo greeting card of our family (my husband and I, and our two dogs) to people I work with or should I send a generic card? I have worked at this company for 4 years and have personal relationships with most of my co-workers. It is standard practice for most of the people who work at our company to send cards to all employees on our firm directory.

A: It’s fine to send your photo card to co-workers when you have a personal or social relationship with them. If you are sending cards to those you really don’t know you may of course send the same card, or if you feel it is too personal, a different card without the photo is fine too.

Name Swap: How to announce a name change at work

Q: I am in the process of reverting back to my maiden name. At work, should I alert people ahead of time that my name will be changing? If so, what is the proper thing to do – send out an email to the people I interact with the most and let them know?

A: A person who changes the name by which he or she has been known should immediately notify social and business associates of the change to avoid confusion and embarrassing situations. Traditionally, the quickest and simplest way of informing others is to send out formal announcements:

Mrs. Susan Smith

Announces that by Permission of the Court

She Has Taken the Family Name of Jones

Architect Uncovered: Requesting an office dress code

Q: There is a thirty year old woman in our office who, on most days, has 3/4 of her body exposed. The areas can be her back, legs, and usually her midriff. She is very pretty but dresses in unattractive, sloppy, revealing, and provocative clothing. A number of employees, both male and female, would really like management to make some sort of stand. What can we do?

A: You should talk to management and request a dress code for the office. This is not unreasonable and is something many companies have as part of office policy.

Employee Birthdays: Keeping the cost down

Q: I work in an eight-member office made up of five support staffers and three managers. In the past we have had semi-elaborate birthday parties for each employee, and we all contribute to food, dessert, and a gift. It sometimes amounts to &15.00 per person or more per party. Since some of the employees consider this excessive, could you offer some guidelines for acknowledging birthdays and special occasions?

A: You can take a few different approaches. One is to have a group party every three or four months, celebrating the birthdays of those who have had one in that time frame. This still enables a celebration but keeps the costs down for everyone. Another would be to have only cake and coffee in the afternoon, or coffee cake or bagels and coffee in the morning, rather than such an elaborate meal, for each birthday. Still another approach would be to skip the parties entirely and simply circulate a card for everyone to sign in honor of each person’s birthday. What is important is that you are consistent – that you don’t acknowledge some with a party and others with a card, for example.

Dress for Success: Defining ‘business formal’

Q: My new employer requires ‘business formal’ attire for all meetings and conferences. I assume that this means ‘suit and tie.’ Could you please tell me the specifics for business formal?

A: Business formal would be a suit, shirt, tie, socks, and polished shoes.