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3.6 Business practices

Business hours

In Poland, government offices and agencies work five days a week, from 8:15 am to 4:15 pm. Industrial plant administrations and offices are open from 7 am to 3 pm, while commercial banks are generally open from 9 am to 5-6 pm. They are usually closed during weekend and public holidays.

Food and grocery shops are generally open on weekdays from 6-7 am till 6-7 pm, on Saturdays from 7 am till 1 pm. Some of them also open in the afternoon on Saturday and during Sunday. Certain shops, predominantly groceries, stay open till 9 or 10 pm and some are open 24 hours.

Shops and department stores selling consumer goods and/or offering services operate from 10-11 am till 6-7 pm. But they usually close early (between 1 pm and 4 pm) on Sundays. Hypermarkets and supermarkets in big cities usually open till 9 pm.

Religion and holidays

The majority of Poles are Catholic. They largely enjoy festivities, and follow traditions and centuries-old customs. Links with tradition are felt the strongest during the greatest religious feasts, such as Christmas, Easter, Corpus Christi processions and All Saints' Day.

The two main national holidays are the anniversary of the restoration of independence in 1918 (the Independence Day), celebrated on 11 November, and the anniversary of the passing of Poland's first Constitution on 3 May 1791 (the Constitution Day). These are official holidays with ceremonies, marches, concerts and other festivities.

Other holidays include Women's Day (8 March), Mother's Day (26 May), Granny's Day (21 January) and Children's Day (1 June), which are not public holidays and mainly celebrated at home.

Public holidays in Poland

Date for 2010

Date for 2011

Event

1 January

1 January

New Year’s Day

5 April

25 April

Easter Monday

1 May

1 May

Labour Day

3 May

3 May

Constitution Day

3 June

23 June

Corpus Christi

15 August

15 August

Assumption Day

1 November

1 November

All Saints’ Day

11 November

11 November

Independence Day

25-26 December

25-26 December

Christmas

Greetings and gestures

Polish people enjoy greeting each other. When arriving at a meeting, Polish people shake hands and say “Hello” ("cześć", i.e. “Hi” in Polish) to each other. When the company is larger it's right to shake hands with all those present. Some people may exchange embraces or even a kiss during a greeting, which indicate familiarity. A moderated kiss, which is in fact a delicate touch of cheeks, is also acceptable. Nevertheless, it should be noted that non-Polish men may not be expected to kiss Polish women for greetings.

English can be regarded as the most popular foreign language in Poland, especially in Warsaw. Therefore, when calling the name of the Poles, one may call their surnames with “Mr.” or “Ms.” in English. Dropping “Mr.” or “Ms.” and call the others with their surnames only, and even with the titles like “President” or “Director” may be taken as impolite.

Business meetings

While business meetings are usually undertaken during office hours, Poles also welcome business lunch or dinner at restaurants, and even at coffee shops or café. However, breakfast meetings for business purpose are yet to be popular.

On the other hand, the impression that Poles like drinking strong alcohol during business dinner may not be valid, at least for the modern days. While some may still like to drink vodka, many have switched to beer and wine.

Strong family value

Poles largely have a strong value towards family. Most Polish people opine that a successful family life is of utmost importance. This is evidenced by the fact that Poland has one of the lowest divorce rates in Europe. The most popular family model is 2 + 2, which contains mother, father, and two children. But this pattern has somewhat changed along with economic development, when there is an increasing number of parents, especially the younger couples, preferring to have 1 kid only.

 

Content provided by Hong Kong Trade Development Council
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