If I have opened the door and behind me and some of my colleagues are coming, should I keep holding the door open for them too.

Does this fall under office etiquette?

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    This depends entirely on local culture. In some countries this is normal and appreciated, in others it is highly irregular, creepy, suspicious or weird.
    – J...
    Nov 3, 2015 at 9:58
  • @J... Could you cite some examples of where it would be considered odd or creepy? I've not heard of this and I've worked in Japan, China, America and Australia!
    – Michael A
    Nov 3, 2015 at 10:32
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    @Codingo I'd be surprised if you didn't get odd looks holding doors for people in Japan. As a foreigner you're perhaps granted a certain latitude for weird behaviour, but it is not normal. It is sometimes done in Japan for the elderly, but especially if you are holding doors for your contemporaries or, worse, juniors, it is very odd indeed. If you've been there, done it, and didn't notice people's reaction then I might suggest that you were simply not aware of the awkward situations you created. More broadly in East Asia, it may not be so odd, but is generally just not done.
    – J...
    Nov 3, 2015 at 10:59
  • @J... Quite likely, it wouldn't be the first scenario where I suspected that was the case.
    – Michael A
    Nov 3, 2015 at 11:09

2 Answers 2


Be polite and indiscriminate!

Being polite should always be encouraged and I suggest you do this! Typically I will hold the door if somebody is near enough that we could exchange a couple of words (and will say good morning, good afternoon, etc'). If they're far enough that we couldn't make a few passing comments to each other it can lead to you awkwardly standing there waiting for them whilst they then hurry to catch the door you're holding!

Just make sure that you hold the door indiscriminately. If somebody is chasing you for work, don't avoid them by not holding the door. Likewise if you don't like somebody it's best not to show it - hold the door for them as well.

Secured / Tracked Doors

As mentioned in the comments (and important enough to add here!) if you are going through a secured door or one that requires a keypass to track entry/exits and you hold the door for them make sure that they tap their keypass as they enter and if they don't be sure to say something and follow up on it. This applies whether you know them or not as you don't know if they've been dismissed or shouldn't have access to that area for a variety of other reasons. Secured doors are to be respected! Potentially you may not want to hold the door at all in these situations depending on the culture of the company and in these situations I would follow what others are doing provided the keypass isn't being bypassed by your doing so.

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    Remember that even if you do recognize someone, they might just have been sacked... Security will generally tell you not to hold secured doors, for just this reason.
    – keshlam
    Nov 3, 2015 at 5:12
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    Many security conscious places have the rule that you let nobody in behind you, and that you don't ask anyone to let you in and that you don't follow in behind someone. The reason is that once people are used to this, it is hard for anyone to get in. The rule "don't follow" means it isn't impolite to close the door in someone's face.
    – gnasher729
    Nov 3, 2015 at 9:18

I generally hold the door if someone is close behind me, and I've seen others routinely do this.

Yes, as Codingo notes, if the door has a lock of whatever sort -- keypad, swipe card, old-fashioned key, whatever -- and the company is at all security conscious, the best practice is to just not hold the door for anyone. Many companies I've worked for, this has been an explicit policy. I recall a security lecture at one company where the security chief said, "If someone is following you, just politely close the door in front of them." Umm, yeah, just politely slam the door in their face. But yes, that's what you have to do.

A potential problem, here in the U.S. anyway, is that some ultra feminists get offended if a man holds a door for them. I once had a woman scold and lecture me for holding the door for her, and I've heard extreme cases of people being dragged before HR on sexual harassment charges. My response to the scolding woman was to shrug my shoulders, say "fine", walk away, and make a note never to hold a door for her again. Personally it's not something I'd get in a fight over.

  • cool rant, breh
    – user43936
    Nov 12, 2015 at 0:33

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