- Download our Moving to the Czech Republic Guide (PDF)
Expats doing business in the Czech Republic will find themselves in one of Central Europe’s most developed and industrialised economies. The Czech Republic has taken strides in developing its economy and moving closer towards a more Western style of business. Its ascension to the European Union in 2004 and its central position in Europe have made it an attractive destination for international foreign investment, and a number of multinational corporations have their European headquarters in the country.
How individuals conduct themselves during business in the Czech Republic can significantly impact how fellow business associates perceive them. Expats should take some time to understand common business practices and etiquette in the Czech Republic to become familiar with their corporate culture.
Business hours are generally from 8am to 4.30pm or up to 6pm, Monday to Friday.
Czech and English, although German is used in some business circles.
Business attire is generally formal and conservative. Women should wear business suits, modest dresses or formal skirts. Men should wear dark suits with ties. Business casual and other less formal attire may be accepted in some industries.
If invited to a local’s home, flowers or a bottle of good-quality wine or spirits are acceptable. A small gift from one’s home country is also acceptable. Gifts are usually opened when received.
Although men still hold the majority of senior positions, women are considered equal, and there are no restrictions on women in the workplace.
A firm handshake while maintaining direct eye contact.
Business culture in the Czech Republic
Expats may initially perceive the reserved Czech manner to be cold and impersonal, but Czechs are actually warm and hospitable people. They are generally private people until one gets to know them on a more personal level, although it could take many meetings to reach this stage.
Initial greetings may be formal and reserved. Czechs may be somewhat indirect and non-confrontational in their communications during business meetings. It’s not uncommon for a Czech associate to answer with a vague ‘we will see’ or ‘it is difficult’ (neither of which are favourable answers) rather than giving an outright ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response.
Although the group’s opinion may be considered in some cases, business structures in the Czech Republic are hierarchical, and decisions are made from the top down.
Networking is essential in the Czech Republic, and it is vital to build and maintain relationships. Business may be conducted slowly, with initial meetings scheduled to get to know each other and ascertain the trustworthiness of associates before a deal can be made. Patience is key to succeeding in business in the Czech Republic.
Family is valued highly in Czech culture. Family ties are deeply rooted, and family time is important. As such, it is unlikely that work commitments will extend over weekends or public holidays.
Dos and don’ts of business in the Czech Republic
- Do be on time. Punctuality is important and taken very seriously in Czech business.
- Do arrange meetings well beforehand, as Czechs are not fond of impromptu meetings at the last minute.
- Don’t address somebody by their first name unless invited to do so.
- Don’t try to rush things. Business decisions can take time as associates get to know each other and decide whether they are trustworthy.
- Do shake hands and maintain eye contact when greeting.
►Read Working in the Czech Republic for an overview of the job market
What do expats say about work culture in the Czech Republic?
"The biggest difference is that the work/life balance is quite good here. Czechs take their free time very seriously. By and large, Czechs don't like to 'talk shop' in their free time.
Punctuality is important in the Czech workplace, and Czech society in general. Always make sure you're on time. Don't let too much time go by before contacting your employer or business associates if you know you'll be late.
If you want to have a business meeting with Czechs, don't bother trying to schedule for a Friday afternoon. Many Czechs start their weekends early, sometimes putting in extra hours Monday to Thursday so they can get away early on Friday afternoon." Learn more about Kevan, a Canadian expat, and his experience living in the Czech Republic in his interview.
Are you an expat living in Czech Republic?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Czech Republic. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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