Czech Republic flag Czech Republic: Business Environment

Business Practices in the Czech Republic

Opening hours and bank holidays

General Information
Czech language, culture, customs and etiquette
Czech business culture online course
Business relations in Czech Republic
Commisceo Global, Czech Republic business culture as per Commisceo Global
Opening Hours and Days
A typical Czech working day is 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with a break for lunch. The work week takes place from Monday to Friday. It is advisable to avoid scheduling meetings on Fridays because many business people like to leave the city for the countryside on weekends. Closing days are Saturday and Sunday.

Public Holidays

New Year's Day 1 January
Easter Monday Varies
Labour Day 1 May
Liberation Day 8 May
Cyril & Methodius Day 5 July
Jan Hus Day 6 July
Statehood Day 28 September
Czech Founding Day 28 October
Struggle for Freedom Day 17 November
Christmas Eve 24 December
Christmas Day 25 December
St. Stephen's Day 26 December

Periods When Companies Usually Close

No general closing periods People prefer to take their holidays during school holidays in order to stay with their children: in the summer (July-August), one or two weeks during Christmas, one week in February or March during the spring holiday (the date changes and annually and is regionally dependent). But in most cases offices remain open.

Business culture

The Fundamental Principles of Business Culture
Czech business culture shares some characteristics with other Eastern European cultures and has undergone a significant change since the end of Communism. There are also considerable differences in approach to business between the older generation that grew up with socialist values and the younger generation that is accustomed to a free, competition-driven market. Despite the ongoing change, formality and hierarchy are two of the most prevailing characteristics of Czech business culture.

Most companies maintain a very hierarchical chain of command and as such, decisions are made from the top down. The group's opinion is usually valued and weighed; however, not to the point where subordinates can challenge the decision made by managers. The decision-making process is usually quite slow, as Czechs pay great attention to detail and tend to follow established procedures. They also tend to offer what they expect to get and not give counter-offers.

Personal relationships are important only to serve the purpose of establishing trust as Czechs can be quite suspicious of people they do not know. Small talk does not play an important role either. However, it is useful to talk about your work experience, academic background and the company ranking before delving into negotiations, as this will allow you to legitimise yourself as a business partner.
First Contact
Czechs are rather cautious and can be suspicious of people they do not know. Therefore the first meeting usually serves the purpose of establishing trust. For the first contact, it is advisable to make appointments well in advance via a formal letter or email. Letters should be addressed to the company rather than a specific person. It is better to avoid scheduling meetings on Friday afternoon (many Czechs leave for the weekend after lunch) and in August (summer holiday period).
Time Management
Punctuality is highly regarded in Czech business culture. Foreign business contacts should inform their Czech counterparts of any potential delay with an apology. While meetings usually have a set agenda, they may run overtime as negotiations are usually slow.
Greetings and Titles
Handshakes are the most common form of greeting for both genders. They tend to be firm but fairly brief. Maintaining direct eye contact while shaking hands is recommended. When meeting someone from the opposite gender, it is better to wait for women to extend their hand first. Titles are quite important in Czech business culture, especially when meeting for the first time and when meeting high-level executives. It is recommended to use Mr. or Mrs. (Pane and Paní in Czech) with the surname until invited to use first names (more common among the younger generation). Addressing associates with their academic qualifications is also common (i.e. Pane Profesore or Pane Doktore).
Gift Policy
Gift giving is not common at first business meetings in Czech Republic. Nevertheless, small gifts (i.e. souvenir of the visiting business partner’s country) are acceptable. Expensive gifts are to be avoided as most firms have a ceiling on the value of presents that can be accepted. If invited to a Czech home, it is recommended to bring flowers or wine. Gifts are usually unwrapped immediately.
Dress Code
The dress code is rather formal; however, business casual and other less formal attire may be accepted in certain industries. Men are usually expected to wear dark coloured suits with shirt and tie and stylish yet conservative business suits or dress/trousers and blouses are appropriate for women. It is advisable to keep your jacket on unless the highest-ranking Czech removes his jacket first.
Business Cards
There is no specific protocol surrounding the exchange of business cards. Cards are usually exchanged during the first meeting and it is recommended to treat the card with respect. Cards should also include any academic or professional qualifications.
Meetings Management
Business meetings start with a bit of small talk and initial meetings usually serve the purpose of getting to know the foreign associates. Nevertheless, this process is more about establishing trust rather than Czech business contacts wanting to know their foreign counterparts personally. Therefore, personal matters will not be a part of the small talk or initial meetings. While Czech professionals are usually proficient in English, it is courteous to check whether an interpreter will be necessary. It is also likely that first meetings will be with mid-senior associates rather than with high-level executives.

Presentations should be simple, but also accurate and detailed. As Czechs have a keen eye for detail, it is important to present charts and figures to back up your claims and to have a full grasp of your offer. While Czechs tend to delve into negotiations rather directly, the communication style is quite indirect. In fact, direct communication, especially in the context of negative information, is seen as impolite and crude. Instead of refusing openly, Czechs are most likely to give polite excuses or evasions. It is therefore important to read between the lines and ask for confirmations regarding the terms of a deal. Moreover, Czechs usually offer what they are willing to get out of a deal and are not likely to bring counter-offers to the table.

During meetings, it is important to avoid confrontation and raising voice. As there is a strict adherence to protocol, Czechs look down on any excessive reaction or display of emotion during meetings. It is also recommended to remain patient and avoid hard-sell tactics even when initial stages of the negotiations are slow and the decision-making process takes time. It may also be safe to let your Czech counterparts discuss the matter internally and get back to you later on. Despite the formality of business meetings, humour is an important part of the culture and jokes, even those that would not be considered work-appropriate or politically correct in countries like the United States, are common.

Business entertaining is not an important aspect of negotiations in Czech Republic and inviting foreign guests home to dinner is not common. Business lunches or dinners are most likely to take place once both parts establish a certain level of trust. Business may or may not be discussed during the meal and it is safer to let the Czech associate to bring up the subject. The host is expected to choose the restaurant and pay the bill.
Sources for Further Information
Culture Crossing - Czech Business Etiquette Global Affairs Canada - Czech Cultural Guide Business Culture - Business Etiquette in Czech Republic Expatfocus - Czech Business Culture Business Sweden - Czech Business Culture

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Latest Update: April 2024

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