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Posted On: 8 August 2018 02:52 pm
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:19 pm

Office etiquettes in Qatar: Dos and don'ts

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Are you starting your first job in Qatar soon? Are you moving to Qatar because you have a new job here? Are you switching your job because you were sick of the lack of manners and office etiquettes in your previous work place?

All countries and work places have etiquettes and protocols that should be followed, and Qatar is no different. There are some rules and regulations as well as some criteria for discipline that organizations in Qatar expect that their employees follow. As a progressive country that has made a mark in the world, Qatar has come this far by focusing on creating an environment in the work place and beyond which is tolerant, respectful, cooperative and follows good etiquettes.

It’s important to keep in mind that good office etiquettes are an essential and integral part of a good working environment and the success of an organization. If you are unaware of these etiquettes or do not follow them, you may lose out on some good opportunties for success. Keeping in mind certain etiquettes while at work ensures you will respected by your co-workers and the management of the company you work in. And, since you are probably spending most of your day at work, good manners and office etiquettes will ensure your work environment is progressive and easier to work in.

Below are the dos and don'ts of office etiquettes in Qatar:

1. Be at work on time

Get to work in time. Being consistently late does not look good and reflects poor time management and a non-serious attitude towards work which is bound to noted by your boss and be highlighted in your next meeting with them and affect your appraisal or promotion. Unless you have a very good and valid reason for being late and that, too, once in a while, be on time.

2. Message or call ahead if you’re late

Things happen and sometimes you may not be able to reach your work place on time. In scenarios where you are running late, make sure you inform your co-workers and tell them how long you will be in getting to the work place, so that if there is some important work lined up that must be done on a priority basis, it can be taken over by someone else or rescheduled.

3. Proper greetings are important

Many women in Qatar prefer not to shake hands with their male counterparts as it is deemed culturally inappropriate and is not in lines with Qatari traditions. This should be respected. If you are man who has a business meeting with a woman, it’s best to not extend your hand to her to shake. If she extends her hand, you must shake it, otherwise verbally greet each other.

Also greet the most senior person present at your workplace or in a business meeting first, whether it is a man or a woman. Qataris like titles, so it is better if you address them using their first name and whichever professional or personal title they may have.

4. Always dress modestly and appropriately

Since Qatar is a moderately conservative country that believes in keeping its traditions alive, it is best to dress modestly when going for work. This applies to both men and women. As a man, if you wear a suit to work, it should be a conservative one. If your office environment is less rigid and stringent when it comes to what you wear, ensure you don’t go in wearing shirt or trousers in bright colors and odd patterns. As a woman, the same rules apply, along with some others that include wearing business suits or office attire that covers the knees and elbows, shows no cleavage and is not tight fitting. Abayas are not a necessity, but dressing modestly is.

dress modestly in Qatar

Image Credit: Ecclezzia

Grooming is exceptionally important in the Qatari office culture and is noticed. Clothes should be well ironed and well-maintained. Hair should be cut and kept neatly, and the overall look should be neat and clean.

5. Keep that phone on silent

Since you may be sharing space with your co-workers, keep your phone on silent. This will ensure you are not disturbing anyone if your phone rings consistently, especially if it’s part of your job to be in constant communication with people.

Nobody likes the sound of a phone ringing in the middle of an important meeting, so switch off your phone or keep it on silent before the meeting starts.

6. Keep e-mails polite

More often than not, you will be required to e-mail people. Since everyone in Qatar does not speak fluent English or may not fully understand the language, it is important to use language in the work place that is easy understandable, to-the-point and polite. Work place e-mail or social media texts are different from personal ones, so keep out the emojis and the slang language.

7. Cooperate with and respect your co-workers

If a co-worker is having a problem with a deadline or needs some assistance, help them out and cooperate with them. This way if you are in a similar situation, someone will be there to help you out, too.

Office etiquettes respect

Respect is very important in Qatar and is a vital part of its traditional values. Have respect for and be considerate of your co-workers and also their belongings. Do not be rude with anyone or talk in a loud tone. If there is a problem, sort it out respectfully and in a diplomatic manner. Be amicable, polite and learn to be tolerant of each other because everyone is different.

8. Take responsibility for your actions

It’s human to err. We all make mistakes. It’s OK – but only as long as you take responsibility for your mistakes or errors in judgement. Honesty is the best policy in Qatar, so if you have made a mistake, do not lie about it. Be honest and don’t try and shift the blame on someone else. It’s unethical and wrong. Apologize, fix the mistake and move on.

If there is something your boss is not happy about and criticizes you, don’t get upset or angry, especially if it is constructive criticism and can help you improve the way you work. Listen to your boss, try to discuss the issue and come up with a solution that would work for both of you.

9. Keep your work space neat and tidy

Messy work spaces look bad and they can tell a lot about you as a person. Keeping your work space dirty or cluttered and messy will not only affect your work but also that of others around you.

Always keep your work space clean and neat. It shows that you respect your work place and those around you. Stay organized; keep documents and papers in a folder (if you have a drawer, keep unnecessary things in it to avoid clutter on your desk), keep business cards you get from others in a card holder and place pens and pencils in a holder.

10. Don’t borrow anything without asking

If you need something from a co-worker, don’t just take it from them or their desk without asking. If it’s urgent and work-related, and your co-worker is away from their desk, leave a note that you are borrowing the item with your name and make sure you always return the item after you have finished using it, or you won’t get to borrow anything again.

11. Don’t have long casual conversations or gossip

Idle chit chat is frowned upon in a Qatari work set up and considered a hindrance to organizational success and development. You are in a work place to get things done and work finished on time, not to gossip and have lengthy casual conversations. While it is healthy to get to know your co-workers better and helps produce a healthy work environment, casual conversations should be kept short, especially when you are working in an office space that’s open and contains more people, because they may feel distracted from their work and also get annoyed by your casual banter. You can have personal conversations during your lunch break or after office hours. After all, you are at work to actually work and not have social interactions.

Your work place is not a place to gossip. Gossip is done by those that are idle and have nothing better to do with their time than talk about other people behind their backs and cause problems among co-workers. Refrain from gossiping and keep your conversations at work short.

12. Do not use strong perfumes/colognes

The last thing you want to overpower your co-workers with is the scent you wear, especially if you are working in an open office space that has more people in it. Keep your strong scents for after work and come to your work place wearing a scent that’s subtle. It should be dabbed on pressure points and not your clothes.

13. If you’re sick, stay home

Unless it’s a minor illness that will not affect anyone at work, stay at home if you’re feeling under the weather. Not only will you recover faster, you won’t pass on your illness to anyone else. You will also save those who share your office space from getting irritated or distracted with your constant sneezing, blowing your nose, wheezing or coughing.

If you are at work, it’s important to cover your mouth when you cough and your nose when you sneeze, throw away your used tissues and use a hand sanitizer so you don’t pass around your germs to co-workers.

What is your experience like working in Qatar? Do you and your co-workers follow these basic office etiquettes? Do you have any other tips for office etiquettes? Have you ever quit work because office etiquettes were not being followed? Let us know in our comments section. Like and share the article – it keeps us going!

Cover Image Credit: Eduncle