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Is Workplace Culture in Australia Different Than in the UK?

Workplace Culture in Australia

When you are moving to Australia from the UK and you are starting a new job in an Australian workplace, you might not assume that there are any differences in workplace culture. After all, The UK and Australia share a language and are quite similar in a lot of ways. So… is the Australian workplace the same as an office in the UK, or are there differences in culture and etiquette?

You might find that there are some differences in workplace culture between Australia and the UK, although they might be subtle. Here are some of the ways that workplace culture in Australia might be different than what you are used to in the UK. Keep these things in mind when you emigrate to Australia from the UK and start working.

Workplace Culture in Australia

Business Mentality

When it comes to the psychology of business interactions, Australians are very straightforward. They appreciate business dealings to be upfront, modest and honest and they do not respond well to self-importance. You shouldn’t try to oversell your product or company, as they will not respond well to aggressive sales techniques. Try to be factual, to the point and friendly and Australians will trust you more in business. This modest and humble way of doing business is similar to the way that business is done in the UK, but it may even be more laid back and casual. Also, Australians will use humour to diffuse tension a lot – rather than let a situation be awkward.

Swearing is Okay

Swearing and profanity has a natural place in the Australia workplace and doesn’t offend most people. You can often use swear words among your colleagues to express frustration, make an exaggeration or for a humorous effect. This might not be acceptable in a British workplace and might get you in trouble. Of course, make sure that you gauge the room before you decide to swear, you might not want to do it in front of an older staff member or someone who is more conservative. Follow the lead of the people around you in order to find out how appropriate it is to swear in your particular situation.

Casual Conversation Gets the Ball Rolling

Brits are notorious rubbish at small talk, but you might want to improve your small talk skills as they will come in useful when you are having meetings in Australia. At the start of a business lunch meeting there is always a period of time for small talk and getting caught up on each other’s lives and topical subjects. Someone who jumps right into business matters as soon as the lunch meeting begins might be seen as too aggressive and trying to rush the meeting.

The Workplace Lacks Hierarchy

You might be used to the boss being the head honcho in the work place and everyone else being the subordinates, but it doesn’t always work like that in Australia. Hierarchy doesn’t really exist within the Australian office and a lot of companies will expect the same amount of respect and engagement with all employees, from the big bosses to the lowly interns. This is an important thing to keep in mind when looking for jobs in Australia for UK citizens. So, while in an Australian workplace think of everyone as your equal rather than a top down system of management.

This egalitarian attitude is important all over Australia and it is a major part of the culture, not just in the workplace. Everyone is considered equal in Australian culture and you will be seen as disrespectful if you treat cab drivers or service staff as lesser than you. For example, many Australians will sit in the front seat of the taxi cab when riding in a taxi alone, which makes the taxi driver feel more equal.

These are just a few things that you should know about workplace etiquette in Australia. Of course, every workplace it different so when you start on your new job in Australia you will need to get an idea of the particular traits of your place of business. It can take a while to get used to the new business culture, but once you adapt you will be able to understand and enjoy yourself in your new working environment.

Lyle V. Hensley

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