International Office Etiquette

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Working abroad can be an enriching and formative experience. Not only is it a great way to develop language skills, but a move overseas can often help further your
career too. To make the most of your experience, it’s important to stay organised, plan ahead, and learn as much
as possible about the country you’re going to be doing business in before you

When it comes to working in another country, one of the trickiest parts can be knowing exactly how to interact with your colleagues, business partners or clients, as it’s quite common for there to be differences in cultural and business conventions.

We’ve put together a guide to help you stay on top of things. Our guide includes a few office
etiquette “dos” and “don’ts”, as well as some interesting facts from a wide range of countries. We have outlined the biggest
and most helpful differences in each country’s culture and business practices –
that way they won’t come as too much of a surprise, and you can avoid committing
a faux pas.

For example, did you know that people from Germany aren’t really used to receiving praise for their work and, as a result, prefer you not to sugar-coat things? Or that while in many countries a gift of a bottle of wine or whisky is seen as generous, the same can’t be said for Saudi Arabia, as religious conventions and cultural norms mean that alcohol is largely frowned upon – an alcoholic gift could seem ignorant at best.

Some of our suggestions may seem
more obvious than others, but we think it’s always safer to be informed than surprised. If in doubt, we think the best advice is the most obvious: be polite. You should always try to echo your host’s behaviour where possible, and, if you’re really not sure what to do, just ask someone.

Viking’s Ruud Linders said “As European Marketing Manager, I regularly travel to
different countries. Each country I visit has its own little quirks and conventions, and that’s what makes the world such a beautiful, varied place. Luckily, I usually manage to avoid putting my foot in it – hopefully I’ll be even better now I’ve seen
this infographic!”

So, take
a look at our enlightening infographic and see whether you need to brush up on
your overseas office etiquette or whether you’re already an international communication pro.

If you have any more insights into office etiquette around the world, we’d love to hear them. Let us know over on Twitter @Viking_Chat