The working style prevalent in Luxembourg is also often described by workers who have already worked in various neighbouring European countries as a Franco-German mix. The German way of working is experienced by many as very disciplined, everything is carefully planned and worked out in detail. The French working style, on the other hand, is described as more casual with a French laissez-faire attitude. Schedules are made, for example, but are used more like a rough alignment.
Working in Luxembourg is therefore seen as the golden mean: planning, discipline, accuracy, punctuality and attention to detail are also important in Luxembourg but are not as pedantically followed as in German companies. The strong hierarchical orientation of the French, which is followed by an uncommented acceptance of precise instructions and a tendency to little initiative, is also softened by a more relaxed attitude and communication permeable to hierarchies.
What remains, however, is that in Luxembourgish companies, everyone is primarily concerned with their own area. Individual tasks and areas of responsibility are clearly defined. It follows from this that it is not appreciated if these limits are exceeded without being asked. Therefore, make sure that you do not interfere unasked in the area of responsibility of a colleague or another manager. Of course, you are welcome to offer your support, but be sure to avoid passing someone over or exceeding your responsibilities by instructions or actions.
Understanding of time
A monochronic understanding of time tends to prevail in Luxembourg. Luxembourgers, as well as Germans and Dutch, prefer a structured approach. Individual steps towards achieving the goals are planned and worked through one after the other. Deadlines are set, which are then met.
If, however, a team consists primarily of French, Italian, Spanish and other members who come from more polychronic cultures, the understanding of time changes accordingly. People from polychronic cultures are used to multitasking; they do many things simultaneously and jump back and forth between individual tasks. Long-term and detailed planning is therefore quickly perceived as constricting. It is much better to react spontaneously when problems arise and still make the impossible possible with a lot of improvisation talent. If there are good reasons why a deadline has not been met, this is excusable and should be accepted flexibly.
However, since Luxembourg is a busy place, everyone is usually under certain pressure of time, so it is certainly legitimate to use punctuality and reliability as a yardstick for one’s own actions. Dates and deadlines should be adhered to. If it is not possible, business partners must be informed in good time. Anything else can quickly be classified as unreliable, which is an obstacle to successful collaboration.
As far as daily working hours in Luxembourg are concerned, it should be noted that employees in collective contracts tend to work from 8 a.m. or 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. or 5 p.m., while non-tariff employees are paid to achieve their objectives and exceed the number of hours specified in the employment contract, depending on their career ambitions. In general, Luxembourg has a high work ethic. It is also considered important to develop personally and climb up the career ladder.
However, work-life balance is also important to the family-oriented Luxembourgers. In most Luxembourgish companies, it is accepted that people with children have to leave on time as the children must be picked up. However, these employees will often switch the computer again in the evening.
Flow of information
In Luxembourg, the general rule is that the other party is expected to be kept actively informed of the cooperation. It is better to write one email too many than one too few.
By and large, information is exchanged through formal communication channels. Nevertheless, you should exchange ideas with your colleagues during your coffee or lunch break. Depending on the weighting of the relationship level in the cooperation, it may well be that important information is also passed on informally. The cultural mix in Luxembourg companies often creates its own dynamic in terms of the daily flow of information. Keep your eyes and ears open and cultivate your contacts so that you are connected to all information channels at all times.
Business meals and after work socializing
Business meals are part of everyday life in Luxembourg. There will be both working lunches at lunchtime, during which the topics from the conference room will be continued or a joint project discussed, and business dinners in the evening purely to cultivate relationships. These evening events usually start at 20.30 and last several hours. They may take place in good restaurants or at home. It is also common to get together with colleagues after office hours.
Delicious food plays an important role in Luxembourg. There is a lot of gourmet food and a lot of alcohol in the country. Drinking good wine for dinner is not only the norm in the evening, it is often drunk during lunch. Restaurant bills are correspondingly high and are paid by the host.
Depending on the nationalities represented, the entertainment can be very lively. Heavy discussions are possible, which do not usually jeopardize the business friendship itself. People simply enjoy arguing and say goodbye afterwards with an even closer embrace.
Luxembourgers also like to have political discussions and will openly say what they think and mean. Even at business lunches, issues such as abortion, religion or sexual orientation can arise, something that is taboo in many other countries. US businessmen, for example, should expect that the US president will be openly criticized. Don’t take such “verbal attacks” on the USA personally! You will be expected to participate in the discussion and will be eagerly asked for your point of view. No matter what you have to say: Your personal opinion will be accepted.