WORKING ABROAD / JUL. 05, 2014
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How to Master Business Etiquette in Greenland

Located in the Arctic between North America and Europe, Greenland is home to several businesses and offers a variety of employment opportunities in the oil, shipbuilding and construction sectors. And if you work in any of these industries, you might visit the region for business. 

This is an amazing opportunity to experience life in the Arctic, and there's certainly plenty of activities to enjoy from sightseeing to day tours. However, since you'll probably spend the majority of your trip in business meetings, it's important that you master business etiquette in Greenland. 

Meetings and Greetings

  • Although an Eskimo kiss (the act of rubbing noses together) is a common greeting in Greenland, this act is reserved for family and close friends. A handshake is appropriate in formal settings. 
  • Since the business climate is relaxed in Greenland, using a colleague's first name is preferred. 
  • Most business people work a traditional 35 to 40 hour work week. It's not uncommon for employees to work on Saturdays during the winter, which lets them take longer weekends in the summer. 
  • If you're scheduling a meeting, be aware that many business people take long vacations between mid-June and mid-August. Companies may also shut down for Christmas, New Year, Easter and the National Day (June 21).
  • The official business language in Greenland is Greenlandic and Danish, although some professionals communicate in English. Use an interpreter if necessary, and translate your business card into the appropriate language. 

Business Attire

Formal attire is appropriate in business settings, such as pant suits, collared shirts, dresses and blouses. Since Greenland is located in the Arctic, it's important to dress appropriately for the climate. This includes layering clothes and socks, and wearing heavy coats and boots. During the cold season, the average daily low is -12 degrees. Average highs during the warm season range from 50 to 68 degrees. 

Dining Etiquette

Business lunches and dinners are common among professionals. This is how colleagues get to know each other better, but business is rarely discussed over a meal. The person who extends the invitation is expected to pay for the meal. 

Final Word

Most people only dream of visiting an Arctic location, yet this is a reality through your employer. The more you know about the area and the business culture, the more enjoyable your trip. 

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