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Business Practices

In this page: Business Relations | Opening Hours


Business Relations

The Fundamental Principles of Business Culture
The fundamental principles of business culture in the United Kingdom are courtesy, politeness, discipline and punctuality.
First Contact
A firm handshake is the norm and eye contact should be maintained during the greeting, but not prolonged. There is no discrimination between genders in the UK.  The British might seem a little formal at first.
Punctuality is important in business situations. In most cases, the people you are meeting will be on time. Call if you will be even 5 minutes later than agreed.
There will be a brief amount of small talk before getting down to the business at hand.
There is still some protocol to follow when introducing people in a business or more formal social situation.
How to Present Yourself
Most people use the courtesy titles or Mr, Mrs or Miss and their surname. Wait until invited before moving to a first-name basis.
Business Relations
The British can be quite formal and sometimes prefer to work with people and companies they know or who are known to their associates. The younger generation however is very different; they do not need long-standing personal relationships before they do business with people and do not require an intermediary to make business introductions.

Nonetheless, networking and relationship building is often key to long-term business success. Most British and business people look for long-term relationships with people they do business with and will be cautious if you appear to be going after a quick deal.

People do not usually bring a gift to a business meeting.  However, if you are invited to a private dinner you should do so.
Business Communication
The British have an interesting mix of communication styles encompassing both discreet and direct communication. Many older businesspeople or those from the 'upper class' rely heavily upon formal use of established protocol.

E-mail is now much more widespread, however the communication style remains more formal, at least initially, than in many other countries. Most British people will not use slang or abbreviations and will think negatively if your communication appears overly familiar. Prompt acknowledgment of correspondence is expected. British executives communicate more by email and telephone than by letter and fax.

Dress Code
Conservative dress is the norm for both men and women in British business culture where darker colours are more common.
Some British firms have introduced the concept of ‘dress-down’ Friday with its code of ‘smart casual’ but it is not universal.
Visiting Cards
Business cards are exchanged at the initial introduction without formal ritual. The business card may be put away with only a cursory glance so don’t be offended if not much attention is paid to it.
For Further Information
Commisceo Global
Executive Planet

Opening Hours

Opening Hours and Days
Standard banking hours are Monday to Friday from 9:00-9:30 a.m. until 3:30 or 4:00 p.m. (some remain open until 5:30 p.m.). Many bank branches stay open late once per week (until 5:30 or 6:00 p.m.), as well as being open on Saturdays (9:00-9:30 until 12:30 or 3:30). Banks in England and Wales remain open over lunch, but many of their counterparts in Scotland and Northern Ireland close for one-hour at lunch.

Public Holidays

New Year Day 1 January
2nd January 2 January (Scotland only)
Saint Patrick's Day 17 March (in Northern Ireland only)
Good Friday Friday before Easter
Easter Monday Monday after Easter Sunday (except in Scotland)
Easter Tuesday Tuesday after Easter (Nothern Ireland only)
May Day First Monday of May
Victoria Day 21 May (Scotland only)
Spring Bank Holiday Last Monday of May (except in Northern Ireland, where it is the first Monday of May)
Orangemen's Day 12 & 13 July (Northern Ireland only)
Summer Bank Holiday Last Monday of August (except in Scotland, where it is on the first Monday of August)
Autumn Bank Holiday Third Monday in September
St Andrew's Day 30 November (in Scotland only)
Christmas Day 25 December
Boxing Day 26 December
Holiday Compensation
If a public holiday falls on a weekend, the following Monday will be a compensation day.

Periods When Companies Usually Close

There are no set times when companies close, however many close between Christmas and the New Year.
For Further Information
Public Holidays


Learn more about Business Environment in the United Kingdom on, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

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Last Updates: June 2018