Advantages and Limitations when working with Germans

Advantages and Limitations

When living and working in Germany, you immediately realise that the country has a lot to offer.  Including the rich culture and history, a strong economy, the ease of accessibility from the main cities and great opportunities in several markets especially in the ecommerce market.  As an expat staying somewhere outside your home country, it is only natural that you will find some cultural differences.  Below, we will provide you with some of the German’s main traits which can be challenging, however, if made aware of you can use them for your benefits and to create professional relationships.

Direct communication

German people have a tendency of speaking their mind.  In other words, you will always know where you stand when dealing with Germans.  This is obviously good, especially in the professional sector, however, their blunt way of communication may somewhat be deemed offensive by some foreigners.  This does not mean that Germany is a country for impolite people, quite the contrary in fact.  The reason Germans speak in such a way is to help to improve the final result.  In the same way, they appreciate a direct approach from their colleagues so if you want something from a German, just say it.  This can be used as an advantage for your own requests and questions.

Punctuality

Make sure you are on time!  For Germans punctuality is crucial regardless whether it is work or social.  Punctuality in Germany is a sign of reliability so being late is not just seen as rude but also undependable.  For a meeting, interview or any set time, try to be around 10 minutes ahead of schedule!  As an advantage for you, rest assured that Germans will keep their deadlines.

‘Dienst ist Dienst und Schnaps ist Schnaps’

The German words above mean that; Duty is duty and liquor is liquor.  This really describes the typical German.  When it comes to work, do not bother with small talk or distractions.  Germans tend to be fully focused and productive as much as possible while at work.  A working year in Germany is relatively “short”, having an average of 20 to 30 days’ annual leave and 13 banks holidays.  This also includes roughly 8 weeks of paid leave per annum.  This allows the Germans to enjoy their needed rest but optimum levels of productivity when it comes to the workplace.

To give a brief summary of what you should and should not do to have a successful work relationship with Germans;

  • Be straight forward and do not get upset by their direct way of communication
  • Do not be late
  • Respect deadlines
  • Avoid small talk while at work

And in the end, give the Germans some time, they will eventually warm up!

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