Business Interactions

The working week is Sunday to Thursday. Business hours generally operate 8am to 1pm and then reopen from 4.30pm to late in the evening. Some malls are open to midnight. There are some government offices that operate their hours differently. These hours begin from 8am and close for business at approximately 3.30pm.

Punctuality is expected of Westerners – even if it is not practiced by locals. Attitude to time is more relaxed, therefore it is not unusual to be kept waiting.

Hospitality is held in high regard throughout the Middle East, therefore coffee and dates are a common affair. Refusal of refreshments can be offensive so accepting and complimenting on the hospitality is well favoured.

Meetings can be chaotic. Texts, emails and phone calls can be taken during meetings as well as other people walking into the room and interrupting.

Arabs are excellent negotiators and haggling is prevalent. Decisions can be slow and bureaucratic formalities can be delayed.

The Arabic people like to do business and will always accommodate guests, so it is very important to show patience and enjoy the hospitality.