How Is The Workplace Culture In Laos Different From The World?

ease of doing business in Laos

Starting a new job is challenging everywhere because every workplace has its own rules and a workplace culture that is different from others but what’s it like to start a new job in an entirely new country? The country under discussion today is Laos PDR (People’s Democratic Republic) which is a country in Southeast Asia that is West of Vietnam and East of Thailand, with China lying at its upper border. So, how is the workplace culture in Laos, and how does it differ from other countries of the world, let’s find out:

Addressing And Pointing Out Mistakes

In most countries around the world, if an employee made a mistake then his boss or his senior would point it out and the person who makes the mistake has to apologize for it. This is something that isn’t fun but it isn’t unusual, it is a way to let the employees know about their mistakes so they can avoid them in the upcoming future.

In Laos, that is hardly the case because nobody directly addresses any mistakes or apologies for them. The concept in Laos is that it is considered as a loss of face and self-respect if you address your own mistakes or your coworkers. It is considered to be humiliating in Laos to address someone’s mistake and you should either cover-up for your coworkers or expect them to cover up your mistake. 

You wouldn’t find people there asking someone to visit them in their office and then addressing their mistakes, it is just not the norm there. So, in case something goes wrong around the workplace in Laos, just accept your mistake but without apologizing and if you see any of your coworkers making an error then be generous enough to cover it up.

Things Happen At A Slow Pace

Unlike the fast-paced environment that most people know about in the west, the environment in Laos is relatively slow-paced and you should expect things to happen fast. For instance, if you ask about your next week’s work schedule in the west then you are informed about it right away whereas, in Laos, things are different.

People in Laos take everything slowly and patiently. Instead of rushing into everything and trying to make things happen instantly, Lao people are patient and think that sooner or later, things will eventually happen. So, in the workplace, if you ask for a favor from someone or want anything to be done urgently then it wouldn’t be so urgent. In Laos, even urgent things are rarely done right away. 

To adapt to the Laotian workplace environment, you should learn to be patient and understand that people there are accustomed to doing things at a slower pace.

Lunch Time Is A Proper Event

In the west, lunchtime isn’t an event, it is just trying to make some time between work and meetings to get done with your lunch. However, if you are working in Laos then you will be more than happy to know that lunchtime is a proper event of the day.

The lunchtime there is about 90 minutes long where everyone stops working and sits together. It is the break during which most people get to chit chat, gossip, build friendships, and relax by playing stress-busting games such as Solitaire which can help bust off stress, and Freecell which can help increase your productivity. 

In Laotian Workplace, lunchtime is the best time of the day during which you can interact with your coworkers and build friendships with them. Being friends with your coworkers not only makes your workplace more fun and enjoyable because you get someone to share jokes with but also you can get your work done and ask favors from them. 

Expect A Lot Of Paperwork

In the west, there is the idea of going paperless all around and instead of doing everyday tasks on paper documents, all of the things are done digitally through emails and other resources, leaving very little paperwork. 

However, in Laos that is not the case. The amount of paperwork in Laos is huge and almost everything needs to be hand-signed. Emails and other online resources are virtually non-existent. Almost everything is done in the form of physical documents including memos, receipts, forms, documents, invitations, and contacts. 

Along with this, there is also the requirement of delivering important documents and invitations by hand. If you want to get approval or need a day off then you should start dealing with your paperwork early. Instead of getting annoyed by this and letting it drive you crazy, you should learn to deal with it.