The Modern Workplace: People Places and Technology | Cultural differences in the workplace

Cultural differences in the workplace

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Posted 22 July 2019 14:24:00 BST | By Admin

Diversity: noun.
The state of being diverse.
A range of different things.

Statistically speaking, when it comes to the backgrounds, birthplaces and cultures of your colleagues, your own workplace will likely be incredibly diverse. A modern melting pot of different life experiences, customs and opinions is usually a good thing; after all, we can all learn from each other, and perhaps we’ll find that our own office culture can reach a happier status quo with input from people that have lived entirely different lives from our own.

The Modern Workplace Report 2019: People, Places & Technology - the state of  the current workspace, working environment trends, issues surrounding meeting  management and the rise of agile working

Within a global business, offices located around the world will no doubt have entirely different office cultures and attitudes, despite being part of the same business, situated under the same brand umbrella.

Many of us are aware of the idea that each country has its own set of unique cultural differences, but it is in the global workplace – which is now more easily achieved than ever, thanks to the likes of video conferencing – that these differences can really become apparent.

Across the globe

Here’s a rundown of some of the most interesting cultural workplace differences from around the world:

In Dubai, the Muslim calendar is commonly followed, resulting in the working week being Sunday to Thursday, with Friday and Saturday becoming the weekend.

For our antipodean pals in Australia, it’s commonplace to down tools at 4.30 p.m., in order to socialise with your colleagues.

Over in Abu Dhabi, the majority of workers commute via car, either parking close to the office, or being dropped off by a taxi or family member.

You might like to read our blog about global commuting

The indigenous Maori language is incorporated into everyday speech in New Zealand, meaning businesses often answer the phone with the greeting “kia ora”, which in its simplest form, means “hello”.

The Spanish work day is 11 hours in total, with work commencing at 9 a.m., coffee breaks and a two-hour lunchbreak (aka time for a siesta) throughout the day, and work finishing at 8 p.m. However, plans are now afoot to end this tradition and introduce the standard 9 p.m. working day.

You’ll often find Japanese workers napping on the job. This is known as inemuri (居眠り), and is actively encouraged by employers.

Singaporeans are renowned for working long hours. In fact, in a recent Asia Pac study, it was reported that locals often work an average of 46 hours per week.

In Belgian offices, you’ll find many of their workforce speaking multiple languages, most commonly including Flemish, Dutch, French and English.

Danish workers generally start their day at 8.00 a.m.; women work an average 35 hours per week, while men can work up to 41 hours per week.

Stationery!

Across the globe there are many different working styles, cultures and practices; even small things such as the name of stationery items can vary: in America, Canada and Australia it’s referred to as White-Out; in Europe it’s more commonly called Tipp-Ex, while our friends in New Zealand know it as Twink. In India, you’ll need to ask for Whitener, in Latin America it’s called Liquid Paper, Thailand refer to it as Correction Fluid and if you’re in Slovenia, you’ll need to ask for Edigs!

We may all be different across the globe, but there is one thing we almost all agree on: nearly two thirds of employees would prioritise better Wi-Fi in the workplace and half would like a better mobile phone signal. Seems we aren’t so different after all, at least when it comes to internet access and the ability to make a phone call at work!

The Modern Workplace Report 2019: People, Places & Technology
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