7 oddities that amuse foreign people working in Russia

Working with Russians is never dull.

Working with Russians is never dull.

Alena Repkina
Working with Russians is never dull. They are usually late for meetings, don’t start work until 10 a.m., bring sweets and cakes into the office, and have a brilliant mentality that means they jump head first into every task. Still, they are a bit weird...

Many people travel to Russia in search of a career and if they’re lucky enough to find a job they find out pretty quickly that working here can present some surprises. Russia Beyond speaks to some expats to find out what it’s like working with Russians, and what odd traits they have in the office.

1. Flexible timetable

If you’re planning your schedule, pay attention: At 8.30 a.m. most Russian offices are probably still closed. “Once during a work trip, I organized my appointments so I could visit all my clients,” says Ute Heller from Germany. “I decided to visit the last couple locations at the beginning of the last day of my stay, but I didn’t know that Russian offices often don’t open until 10 a.m.!”

2. Are you late? Don’t worry!

If you have a work meeting or conference with Russians, expect to wait a while. “Meeting scheduled with a Russian client for 3 p.m.? It’s probably going to happen at least 15 minutes later,” says Cecilia Mussi from Italy. Often due to intense traffic, meetings in Moscow are delayed. But for those who live and work in the city, sometimes this can be a good thing. “I learned to schedule my meetings in places near cafes and restaurants, so if the person I’m meeting is late I can have a coffee or something to eat,” adds Heller.

3. Do not forget time zones

Russia is the biggest country on Earth, it has 11 time zones. If you’re working with clients from Vladivostok, for example, you’ll most likely be doing long distance calls and Skype video conferences during the early morning or even late night. “Some years ago I was working with a partner searching for new clients to develop a new project. It was quite a shock when we understood that we had to start working at 6 a.m. because the offices in Vladivostok opened earlier,” says Louis Fayet from France.

4. Don’t mince your words

“In the work environment Russian people tend to be very straightforward. lf they think something, they say it to your face,” says Sara Donadini from Italy. “In general they stick to their word and can even be more punctual than Italians.”

5. Never come empty-handed

In Russia, it’s customary to come to meetings bearing gifts and small sweets, biscuits, or chocolates. “Working with Russians is amazing because when you meet with them they always offer you tea and chocolates,” adds Donadini.

6. Effort and dedication

Russians will throw themselves into each and every task with gusto, whether it be learning a new language or an artistic activity. “They apply themselves intensively and they have a great respect and interest for everything concerning the learning process,” points out Giggio Giovanni from Brazil - he’s been living in Moscow for a decade.

7. Moscow, the city of opportunities

One thing we can all agree on: The Russian capital offers lots of opportunities for self-employed professionals. “There are so many potential clients that have the time and money to invest,” concludes Giovanni.

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