A Quick Guide to Work Etiquette Around the World | ExpatWoman.com

A Quick Guide to Work Etiquette Around the World

Let’s take a closer look at work etiquette around the world and how they differ from the UAE

Posted on

28 November 2018

Last updated on 31 March 2019
A Quick Guide to Work Etiquette Around the World

It is no hidden secret that work etiquette differs significantly across the globe.

As a result, it is important that employees are made aware of these differences before they work abroad or attend a conference in another country.

Here at Santa Fe Relocation, we are taking a closer look at work etiquette around the world and how this may impact assignees and businesses.


Living in a beautiful country like the UAE, with a rich history and culture and is now fast becoming a global leader in the mainstream of business, it is only understandable that it comes with a set of work etiquette that people need to adhere to.

UAE is a healthy mix between middle-eastern and western values, hence it is customary to treat any introductions with utmost respect. It's a sign of respect to greet the oldest person in the room first and to never shake hands with the opposite gender unless they extend their hand first.

Arriving on time coupled with good manners are prized attributes to carry at your work place. Be way of the traffic and leave plenty in advance to avoid it. UAE 's expat community makes it to be a cultural melting pot. Be mindful of the various cultural sensitivities and norms and respect all cultural differences.

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In the UK, being on time is a major part of work etiquette and those who fail to arrive on time will meet some agitated faces. This is particularly important for individuals who are obliged to meet strict work commitments, specifically when attending an important conference or making a scheduled telephone call. In addition, it is also common knowledge to avoid prolonged eye contact. While this isn’t as important as being on time, it can make people feel uncomfortable, so this must ideally be avoided.

In addition, employees attending a networking event must exchange business cards at the initial introduction, unlike in Japan. In Japan, individuals are required to undertake a number of steps, including bowing before handing the card over.

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There are numerous factors to consider when it comes to adhering to Japanese work etiquette. In Japan, greeting an individual involves bowing with a straight back and both hands at the side. While this is significantly different compared to the standard handshake, the same rules apply in other areas, particularly that it is good to take notes during business meetings. In fact, this helps to show interest in the discussed topic.

In addition, during business meetings, individuals should never write on or fidget with a Japanese business card as this can be seen as disrespectful to the person the business card belongs to.

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United States

When conducting business in the United States, individuals should adjust to US business etiquette in conversation, whether that is greeting the individual or avoiding standing too close. Just like in the United Kingdom, it is considered to be significantly rude to answer a telephone call or send an email during a meeting.

Furthermore, during these meetings, it is likely that Americans will use dramatic facial expressions to create the effect they desire. Compared to other parts of the world, such as in the United Kingdom, business meetings can in fact be considered more casual in some cases and are permitted to take place during lunch or dinner.

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Australian citizens are likely to make a decision based on factual information instead of what is trending. Compared to the United Kingdom, Australian schedules tend to be more relaxed, meaning that it is not necessarily considered rude if employees turn up late to a business meeting. Nevertheless, not meeting a deadline is considered to be unprofessional. As a result, it is essential that each deadline is met on time regardless.

Business culture can differ from country to country, so it is important to ensure that your employees are aware of the differences before heading abroad to attending a meeting, a conference or to work. For more information on how we can assist your team during the relocation process, get in touch with a member of our expert team on 04 332 1595, today.

Santa Fe Relocation
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Santa Fe Relocation
Santa Fe Relocation is a global mobility company specializing in managing and delivering high-quality relocation services. Our core competence is providing services that assist you and your family in relocating and settling in a new country.

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