Q: You need to take a pill at work. Is it OK to take it at your desk?

A: As long as you’re being discreet and quick, it’s fine to take pills at your desk. This is a personal and private matter, so you don’t need to alert your boss or co-workers. The only time you should mention it to a nearby co-worker is if this is your first time taking the medicine and you’re not sure if you could have an allergic reaction.

Take your medicine as you would at home: a sip of water and be done. Put it away; don’t have the bottle out on the desk. It’s not a part of your desk materials. Discreetly put it away.

If you personally feel uncomfortable taking the medicine in the open, go to the restroom, your car or somewhere with a little more privacy.

PATRICIA ROSSI, author of “Everyday Etiquette: How to ­Navigate 101 Common and Uncommon Social Situations”


A: Health and well-being are personal issues (unless they affect professional performance, in which case, it’s important to let your employer and colleagues know), so why surface them in a professional context? Sidestep potential concerns by finding a quiet spot where others are not around, such as stopping by your car or taking a walk to take your medicine.

By doing that, you’ll spare yourself and your co-workers an awkward situation, not to mention the questions that can come. Many people associate taking a pill with illness or not feeling well, potentially causing others to assume that something may be wrong with you. Maybe you’re taking a heart medication for a potentially serious malady. Or maybe it’s just a vitamin. Either way, it’s no one’s business but your own.

SCOTT STEINBERG, author of “The Business Etiquette Bible”