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5 tips on workplace etiquette in Hong Kong

Starting a new teaching job in any Asian country can be intimidating because many of these countries have a lot of customs any traveler should be aware of, especially when meeting new people. Hong Kong, often described as a place where “East meets West”, due to its Chinese roots and influence from British colonization, can be confusing for any expat. We’ve compiled some tips that will help you before your big move to teach English in Hong Kong:

  1. When meeting someone, greet them with a handshake, but be aware that this handshake may be a bit less firm than a Western handshake.

  2. Exchanging business cards is also the norm, but be careful when you are doing this! When presenting and receiving business cards, use both hands to hold the card by the corners. If you use only one hand, this could be seen as rude. Also, when you are receiving a business card, look at the card when you take it, or else it could seem dismissive.

  3. Gift giving is common. When you first start out in a new workplace, you could bring in treats, such as pastries or snacks, for your colleagues. This is not absolutely necessary, but it is common in the Hong Kong workplace. Plus, you’d get to bond with your new coworkers over food!

  4. Standing and sitting can be tricky. Perhaps you’re eating lunch out with coworkers and a friend sees you from afar and swings by your table to say hi. Since they’re standing, you should definitely be standing up as well when you’re chatting with them, as a sign of respect.

  5. Hong Kong Chinese can be reserved and uncomfortable with body contact, so avoid hugging, kissing, or patting people on the back.

Now that you know a bit about these customs, you’re ready to try these out in Hong Kong! View our current opportunities there on our job board.

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