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My English-speaking office does not have fixed office hours or mandatory office days but I want to set up a meeting with my boss so I want to ask when he'll be available in the office over an email. Is the following wording okay?

Sir

Are you expected in office today?

Can I ask it like this or would that be too harsh of a statement? Is the use of 'expected' okay when addressing a senior colleague?

  • "I want to meet my boss and want to ask his availability in office" - you could start by writing this statement to your boss, but then edit the e-mail draft as needed for formality/tone. e.g. "I want to meet you" would become "I would like to meet with you today, if possible, ...", etc. – Brandin Nov 17 '16 at 7:20
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    Is this a translation or would you be sending the mail in English? – Lilienthal Nov 17 '16 at 9:26
  • Since you have stated that you don't have fixed office hours/days, I would have to say that is a perfectly fine question. Although, I would add why you need to know if he is expected in the office, so that he could prepare for whatever it is you need without an extra email asking why. – Prodnegel Nov 17 '16 at 23:04
  • @Lilienthal: the mail is in English – pkj Nov 18 '16 at 5:36
  • Question maybe better suited to ELL.SE. – Masked Man Nov 18 '16 at 9:47
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That is one way of phrasing it, depending on your relation with your boss I would adjust it to suit the formality level. Expected could be interpreted as sllightly accusatory depending on how thick-skinned the boss is, some may see it as if you were indicating tardiness. But as with many things, this depends on the person and your relation. I would recommend against it unless you know eachother well,.

If you are informal with one another, write accordingly. I would in any case phrase it with why you need to know if and when the boss would be in the office.

Sir,
I need to discuss A, B and C with you today. When is a good time?

This focuses on the tasks you need help with or your boss's input, not whether or not the boss will be in the office. If needed you could also add that a direct input onsite is necessary, but only if this is the case of course.

  • +1 for "why". ALWAYS explain why you want something of someone, that makes communication so much easier. – Erik Nov 17 '16 at 7:27
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I want to meet my boss and want to ask his availability in office over email. Can I ask it as follows

"Sir

Are you expected in office today?"

Can I ask like this or would that be a harsh statement? Is use of 'expected' to a senior person is okey?

It might be okay, but phrasing it that way is rather odd.

You would be better off with something that details more about why you need to talk with your boss, and why you need to talk about it face-to-face, rather then over the phone or by email. Something more like:

"Boss,

I'd like to discuss [fill this in with some of what you need to know] with you when you get a chance.

Can we set up a time to talk about this when you are in the office next?"

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I like to tell people "give before you take" as general advice. You want information from your boss (are you coming in) so that is a take. My advice is to start the email by giving information - that you want to meet.

Sir

I would like to meet with you today about [topic.] [Sentence about why it is or isn't urgent and why it should be today or can wait.] Are you planning to come in? When can we talk?

Now your boss can decide to come in specifically to meet you about this, or can offer to discuss it over the phone, or can set up a time tomorrow if the boss wasn't planning to come in today, and so on. Whereas with your bare question, the only options the boss had were "yes" and "no", and you had more information than the boss, which generally makes people uncomfortable.

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