If you listen to a band instead of a combo or eat a buffet dinner instead of a smorgasbord meal, then you should also update your business language. (Young ones, if you don’t understand what a combo or a smorgasbord is, ask your parents. Then forget about it.)
Begin modernizing your language by avoiding the use of “good office.” The term good offices (often plural) does not mean what many people think it does. Good offices actually refers to beneficial actions.
The dictionaries give us the following definitions:
- Through someone’s good offices: with someone’s help
- Good offices: help from someone who has power or authority. Example: I got the interview through the good offices of a former classmate.
- Good offices: an action performed for another, usually a beneficial action. Example: through his good offices.
- Offices: something performed or intended to be performed for another; (specified kind of) service ⇒ done through someone’s good (or ill) offices.
- Good offices: a service done for another or others. Example: Rescued through the good offices of the Italian Ambassador, he was returned safely to England (Oxford Dictionary of English).
Why, then, do many refer to a private or government office as “your good office”? I suspect such label might have arisen from the term good self, which is archaic language for addressing a person or persons. Examples: your good self (instead of you), their good selves (instead of they), or her good self (instead of she). Someone probably presumed that if we refer to a person as his good self, then the office that he represents must be a “good office.”