Five little-known ways office culture varies from the U.S. to Ireland

Published August 31, 2015 10:22 pm by LoSasso

As someone from Ireland living in America, I’m often questioned by people from both sides of the Atlantic about whether I have noticed many differences in the work culture between the two countries. Certainly the typical confusions in language and pronunciation were present, as I expected, but there have been some more unexpected things that struck me, too:

1. Coffee vs. tea: While there are few people who don’t enjoy a nice caffeinated beverage to kick-start their brain in the morning, an Irish office would be incomplete without a large supply of tea bags to keep the masses happy. And don’t forget the milk and sugar, because most are very particular about how they make it!

2. Sports: I know of plenty of offices at home that get overexcited about a World Cup pool or a GAA match, but I have never witnessed anything like my American coworkers’ dedication to creating the perfect March Madness bracket or Fantasy Football draft; I must admit, it really brings an office together in (friendly!) battle.

3. Lunch breaks: I previously assumed the Irish norm of 1-2 p.m. was the global standard for lunchtime, but it seems Americans get hungry earlier in the day!

4. Running late: Punctuality is much more important in American work culture; a meeting delay of ten minutes or more is not uncommon at home (although certainly not a recommended practice)—a phenomenon I’ve heard referred to as “Irish Time.”

5. Vacation days = holidays: A minimum of 20 paid days off a year for all full-time employees means Irish workers are used to longer vacations than their U.S. counterparts, with a two-week holiday in summer generally the norm.

On the other hand, I’ve noticed that Ireland and America have plenty in common. Chief among the shared traits I’ve observed are an extremely strong work ethic alongside a willingness to have some fun. Being able to enjoy some downtime with coworkers produces stronger teamwork, better collaboration and a better working environment overall, no matter where in the world you work. Bringing all these elements together requires a great company culture, and at LoSasso we certainly have that!

Siofra Kelly, Marketing Coordinator Intern