Differences Between Indian Work Culture and Western Work Culture

Dec 27, 2018 / By Kennet Alphy

Resume design

Work culture varies from organisation to organisation across the world. But there is a significant difference in the methods of working in India and the western countries. The western part of the world is a combination of developed nations, and hence, a better standard of living and an upgraded lifestyle is an obvious factor. In this blog, we are not saying which of the countries or the work culture is better, but we are only looking at the differences between the two, so you can pick out the best of both worlds and accommodate it in your workplace.

The Importance of Time

Western Countries: Consider Work as Work

In western countries, time is considered to be the most important factor while at work. Their usual work shift is for 8 hours a day. Traditional working hours in the US are Monday to Friday, 9 AM to 6 PM. All employees are very particular about coming to and leaving from the office. There are hardly a few people who work overtime or until late nights, unless necessary. In western countries, people treat work as work and nothing more than that. They come on time, leave on time and get back to their personal life.

India: Work is Priority

In India, we generally get late to work and have to sneak into our offices and work until late night to cover up for the time. Most of us consider work to be our first priority whereas it should be of equal importance to our personal life.

The Colleague Relationship

In western countries, everyone maintains a professional relationship at work, even if they are family members or very close friends. In office and while at work, they follow a strict professional conversation which could be casual later, only when they are out of the organisation premises.

In India, we are yet to get to this level of professionalism. We tend to do a lot of favours for each other. We become friendly in no time, and then there’s no stopping to our physical and emotional activities towards each other. Though, in some cases, this also has a positive side. It helps in becoming comfortable in the workplace and creates an encouraging environment, leading to better productivity.

The Break Routine

In western countries, the breaks are generally short. A 30-minute lunch break and 15 minutes tea/smoke break. People usually have beverages at their desks, while checking their emails or calculations or proofreading documents. This leads to more productivity.

In India, we take a 1-hour lunch break where we go for long strolls on the premises. We also take 15-20 minutes tea/smoke breaks that are mini gatherings between all employees in either inside or outside of the office building. This is pretty time-consuming, we know, but it has an advantage too. It refreshes everyone’s mood and lightens the environment.

The Office Environment

Offices in the west consider workplace health as one of the most significant things. Maintaining a positive environment and mental health is the biggest factor that increases productivity. These offices often conduct psychological assessments and group development activities.

India is now catching up with this factor. We believe in team building activities. From taking employees to yearly trips to encouraging physical health by giving fitness vouchers, offices are showering employees with incentives. It makes the work environment relaxed and productive. It also leads to better mouth-to-mouth publicity of your company and employee retainer-ship.


Western countries do not follow authority as such. A person of younger age could get hired for one of the highest positions based on his or her knowledge. They might be younger than most employees, yet the environment will be smooth. Employees at higher posts also do not show their superiority and behave normally with everyone.

In India, we follow hierarchy with all our hearts. Starting from our families, we believe in paying more respect to the one who is older to us, and we follow the same pattern in our workplace. We also create a division between designated people of our level and the people working below us. A manager would usually not have lunch with employees under him or her.  It is not a very sociable environment professionally.

These were the major differences between the work culture in India and Western Countries. All these cannot be certified as good or bad, the rules and regulations were made as per the location and situation of an organisation. Nor is this a debate to show which workplace cultures are better or worse in comparison with one another. What you need to do is see between the lines and accept the cultures that suit your company the best.



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