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I have a few female employees working at my office, and being a manager, I need to text them via Skype or Messenger to come to my room.

How can I ask them politely to come?

Please come to my room

Please come here

I don't find either of these formulations helpful; what is appropriate?

closed as primarily opinion-based by tchrist, Kris, Kate Gregory, Drew, Ellie Kesselman Jan 4 '15 at 4:14

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    Instead of "room" why not use "office"? Since you are concerned regarding the gender (I assume you are male), add a summary of intent: "Please come to my office so that we can discuss XYZ." – Sylas Seabrook Jan 2 '15 at 6:00
  • 50
    At work, you have an "office", not a "room". (Yes, "the office" can mean the entire workplace, but that's a form of metonymy, where a part stands for the whole.) "Room" by itself very strongly implies bedroom, and in most cases is not the appropriate word to use for a workplace. – Marthaª Jan 2 '15 at 6:13
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    That's where you're not getting the full meaning. If I say, "Let's meet at the office," then, yes, it means the whole building. If I ask someone to come to my office, it is different. "the office" is implied to mean "the business' building" whereas "my office" is my segment of that building. – Sylas Seabrook Jan 2 '15 at 6:19
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    You have made a specific point of asking how to request your female employees come to your office for a meeting. Please explain how their gender might make a difference to the answer you are seeking. For instance, is it a question of wishing to be politer to them than to your male employees, or of not wishing to appear to have a sexual motive for the meeting, or something else? – Erik Kowal Jan 2 '15 at 6:50
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    In that case, the obvious answer is to include an explicit reason for your summons to the meeting. As others here have already commented, providing the women with this information will also enable them to be better prepared for the meeting. Though it may not be required for you "to give [a] reason each and every time to discuss ABC and discuss XYZ", surely the imperatives of normal politeness, consideration for your employees and workplace efficiency all strongly suggest that you should in fact explain the reason for the meeting beforehand? Not doing so suggests laziness and/or arrogance – Erik Kowal Jan 2 '15 at 7:00
69

The first problem, at least to a native English speaker, is your use of the phrase my room instead of my office. Native English speakers use my room most often to mean my bedroom or my hotel room. Your use of room to mean the room in which you work will sound strange to any native English speaker, male or female.

As others have also pointed out in comments attached to your question, we use office to refer to a room that people work in:

Definition of office in English: NOUN

1A room, set of rooms, or building used as a place of business for non-manual work [emphasis mine]

If we simply say my office, we almost always mean the room (or rooms) in which we work and have our desk. The readers of your messages will know you are not talking about the building.

There is likely a second problem. The form of your message will produce a different feeling, depending on cultural backgrounds.

For most US Americans, particularly, it is considered more polite and respectful to make a request instead of issuing an imperative (command), whether you include please or not. This is generally more true in cultures which more highly value the ideal of social equality among people. Of course, the average American knows that some people are in positions of greater power or a higher station than other people, but we consider it polite to at least behave as if this is not the case!

Also, you may prefer to use only two or three words, but (again in mainstream US office culture) politeness requires a few more in most situations of this kind, whether you like it or not. Many people will lose some respect for you, or think you are not socially intelligent, if you do not understand how to adapt to the situation.

We most often use questions instead of commands in this case, no matter what kind of rank relationship exists between two people. It is understood that the response will not normally be no.

If the person can assume your location, you do not need to say where you are.

Hi Mary, can [or could] you come [and] see me please?

Sandra, do you have a minute to come [and] speak to me?

Can/could you come to my office please?

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    +1 for the meaning of "my room." That would definitely not be appropriate, especially when talking to someone of the opposite gender. The correct phrase is "my office." – reirab Jan 2 '15 at 8:35
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    @reirab Thanks. Actually, I will edit to include, as has been already pointed out in comments on the question, that office means room, not building, in this context. – Jim Reynolds Jan 2 '15 at 8:53
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    "My room" was apparently used in the past in England to mean "my personal office" (I noticed this reading John LeCarre). But in the US, "Come to my room" means something quite different. – James King Jan 2 '15 at 12:17
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    @JamesKing: Many of the usages in le Carré's novels are intelligence-service jargon, rather than then-ordinary British usage. I don't know what category "my room" falls into, but I wouldn't assume it's necessarily the latter. – ruakh Jan 3 '15 at 6:42
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    @ruakh As someone who is British once explained to me "my room" to mean "my office" is a Victorian concept. It's probably not been used in that way in common speech since World War I. Exceptions until well in the 60's/70's: In very old-fashioned/traditional academic circles (e.g. "the professors rooms" meaning his office, not the place where he lives) and in high-level British government or civil service circles (e.g. "the ministers rooms" is sometimes still used even today). Le Carré's usage may derive from the government/civil service usage. – Tonny Jan 3 '15 at 15:37
4

If you want something informal you might say,

Please stop by and see me.

If it's more formal you might say,

Please come to the meeting in my office at 2.

or

I need you to attend a meeting at 2 in my office.

or (assuming you use something like Microsoft Outlook) schedule a meeting and set the location to your office. The gender of the person involved should not matter for scheduling a meeting with a subordinate.

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    As it stands, "There is a meeting in my office at 2" is inadequate as an order: it is not an instruction, merely an item of information. – Erik Kowal Jan 2 '15 at 6:51
  • @ErikKowal Thanks for the feedback, I've edited it. – Elliott Frisch Jan 2 '15 at 6:55
  • I've never been comfortable about "Please stop by and see me." See you about what? About how to go about firing Elliot? Or are you laying me off? Or am I getting a pay raise or a promotion? Who knows, but without a subject line the meeting almost certainly isn't going to be ordinary. I know the code words, and about the lack thereof. The lack thereof inevitably means something best left unwritten in a traceable medium such as email. Even a terse "Please stop by and see me about some work I'd like you to do for me" is better than an unadorned "Please stop by and see me" (if that's the intent). – David Hammen Jan 3 '15 at 14:02
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You can also specifically reference your desk, even if it in an office.

Could you please swing by my desk? - something quick to discuss

Let's have a meeting in my office about xyz - something that might take longer to discuss

2

What about "Can you please come to my desk?"

  • I think this would also be polite and very clear in most situations. – Jim Reynolds Jan 3 '15 at 4:42
  • Often, a business professional or superior will use the phrase "please come see me at my desk" or "will you please come see me at my desk". – mchid Jan 3 '15 at 5:05
  • This can only be used if the person does not have an office. Otherwise, it just...isn't – Evorlor Jan 3 '15 at 15:19
  • @Evorlor Sure it can. Have you ever seen a superior's office that doesn't contain a desk? – bcrist Jan 3 '15 at 18:27
  • @bcrist im not talking logistics. I'm talking about commonly used english – Evorlor Jan 3 '15 at 18:27
0

For being rude: Please come to my office. Can you come to my office?

For being kinda OK: Could you come to my office please?

For being polite and respectful: I was wondering if you could come to my office please?

For being utmost polite and respectful: I was wondering if you would be willing to come to my office please?

In traditional industry, you wanna avoid being utmost polite to build your social status, but in information industry or latest and newer industry, cooperation and getting work done together and acknowledging each other is the norm. So you can be very polite and respectful and people will consider you very professional as well.

0

I notice myself using more words the less familiar I am to the other person, to enhance politeness. Typically, choose one or more of the following:

  • turn an order into a request (it's still an order, for all that it doesn't read like one, but if you expect the other person to weasel out of don g something it's perhaps worth avoiding that step)
  • use the conditional (could or would, versus can)
  • add stock politeness phrases.

Some examples, from brusque to very polite:

  • Come to my office.
  • Please come to my office.
  • Can you please come to my office?
  • Could you come to my office?
  • Could you please come to my office? (This one is a good place to start)
  • If it's not too much trouble / If you have a moment, could you please come to my office? (Works if you are English ;)

You can also make yourself sound more in need, because (obviously) anyone civilized would want to help you out:

  • I really need your help / need you for a moment, if you could come to my office...

Not an exhaustive list, but hopefully enough to inspire you.

This escalation of politeness is actually a problem when I'm talking to ESL speakers; I naturally want to add filler to improve politeness when people aren't understanding what I say, and of course it's completely counterproductive...

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