Austria flag Austria: Business Environment

Business Practices in Austria

Opening hours and bank holidays

General Information
2018 Doing Business in Austria - World Bank
Country Commercial Guide - Austria
Advantage Austria
Commisceo Global, Austrian business culture as per Commisceo Global
Opening Hours and Days
Shopping hours: Shops and stores are generally open from Monday to Friday from 08:00 a.m. to 06:00 p.m. (with a one- or two-hour lunch break in smaller towns) and Saturday from 12:00 p.m. to 05:00 p.m. Big stores and shops in tourist resorts are now open Monday to Fri from 08:00 a.m. to 09:00 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 08:00 a.m. to 06:00 p.m.
Business and Office hours are from Monday to Friday from 08:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 01:30 p.m. to 05:30 p.m.
Banking Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 08:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 01:30 p.m. to 03:00 p.m.; Thursday from 08:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 01:30 p.m. to 05:30 p.m.
Different opening hours may be kept in the various federal provinces.

Public Holidays

New Year's Day January 1, Tuesday
Epiphany January 6, Sunday
Easter Monday In March - April
Labor Day May 1, Thursday
Corpus Christi Day In May-June
Assumption Day August 15, Friday
National Day October 26, Sunday
All Saints Day November 1, Saturday
Immaculate Conception December 8, Monday
Christmas Day December 25, Thursday
St. Stephen's Day December 26, Friday

Periods When Companies Usually Close

The vacation season in Austria is July and August. During this period, many decision-makers are on vacation, generally for 3-4 weeks. Thus business visits or events are not recommended during these two months. July and August

Business culture

The Fundamental Principles of Business Culture
Austrian business culture values order, privacy and punctuality. Thus, in all areas of business and private life, perfectionism is highly respected and achieving objectives is paramount.

Austrian business culture has a well-defined and strictly observed, vertically structured hierarchy, with closely defined responsibilities and distinctions between roles and departments. Decisions are made at the top of the company and in private.

Austrians generally do not need a personal relationship in order to start a business. The need for efficiency implies that long courtesy discussions are avoided. Building a relationship requires demonstrating a sincere interest in the country and the people, so you should research the history, culture and identity of Austria. Following an established protocol is critical to building and maintaining business relationships.

First Contact
Although Austrians prefer third-party introductions, it is quite easy to meet with the decision-maker. Appointments are necessary and should be made three to four weeks in advance either in writing or by phone. Letters should be addressed to the top person in the functional area and should include the person’s name as well as their proper business title. You should avoid scheduling meetings in July, August, the two weeks surrounding Christmas or the week before Easter, as these are holiday periods.
Time Management
In Austria, business meetings adhere to strict agendas, including starting and ending times. Punctuality is crucial and arriving right on time may be interpreted as being late. It is extremely rude to cancel a meeting at the last minute and it could ruin your business relationship. Objectives and deadlines are usually kept.
Greetings and Titles
When meeting your Austrian interlocutor, you should give a quick, firm handshake. The higher ranking or older person usually initiates the handshake. Maintaining eye contact during the greeting is important, and a certain distance (at least an arm’s length) should be maintained during conversations. It is considered rude to have ones hands in ones pockets while being introduced or while talking to someone.
Some Austrian men, particularly those who are older, may kiss the hand of a female. However, for a foreigner, this practice is inappropriate. Women may also kiss men, but men never kiss other men.
A manifestation of Austrian formality is the widespread use of titles, be they in recognition of a university degree, a position in a firm, or in the government. When initially addressing someone, you should use the courtesy titles "Herr" or "Frau" followed by the professional title and the surname, until invited to proceed differently.
Gift Policy
Small gifts can be given at the end of the first meeting. They should be nicely wrapped and are usually opened when received.
Dress Code
The Austrian dress code is conservative and follows most European conventions. Men usually wear dark coloured, conservative business suits with white shirts. Women should wear either business suits or conservative dresses, complemented with elegant accessories.
Business Cards
Business cards are exchanged without formal ritual. It is preferable to have one side of the card translated into German and to include any advanced academic degrees or honours. For well-established companies, including the founding date on the card demonstrates stability.
Meetings Management
Austrians value efficiency and excellent time management. Therefore, only a small amount of getting-to-know-you conversation may take place before the business conversation begins.

Presentations should be accurate and precise, and backed-up by appropriate material. Austrians may be meticulous about details and may want to understand every innuendo before coming to agreement. It is essential to be patient because business is conducted slowly.

Austrians are usually direct communicators but any confrontational behaviour or high-pressure tactics must be avoided. It is also imperative to exercise good manners and to avoid jokes, as the focus is on work and accomplishing business objectives.You can expect a lot of written communication.

Business meals are a great way to establish a personal acquaintance, but actual business is not conducted during lunch or dinner. The person who extends the invitation pays the bill in a restaurant.

Sources for Further Information
Advantage Austria Austrian business culture as per Commisceo Global Business Culture Austria Info

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Latest Update: April 2024

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