Workplace culture in Australia is unique, dynamic and changing.

If you’re new to Australia, you may get caught off guard if you don’t understand how Australian workplace culture works. Australian workplace culture is dynamic and ever-changing.

But fear not! By nature, the Australian workplace is a relaxed and friendly place. When you understand how your co-workers interact, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a fully-fledged member of the team.

The Australian work environment is an open and sociable place. In a short amount of time you will be familiar with its customs and be accepted as part of the team.

 Australian workplace culture: What can I expect?

Australians are renowned for their laid-back attitude. Not in the sense of being lazy or unconcerned, but rather in that we are very easy-going.

You’ll hear the phrase “No worries!” on a regular basis.

For example, it may be something as simple as getting a co-worker a coffee or helping them with their workload. Your co-workers will recognise your friendliness and team spirit. As a result, they will welcome you into the group.

Don’t be surprised if your team go out for lunch or drinks after a day of work. These things are perfectly normal in Australian work culture!

Australian workplace culture: What did you say?

The spoken language of Australia is English. However, there is an undeniable difference between the language spoken here and in the halls of Buckingham Palace!

Australian slang is widely used in everyday conversation and in the Australian workplace. But, Australian slang and its meaning is not always immediately clear.

For example, a co-worker might announce that their computer was “completely cactus” (‘not functioning’). So, while it’s being fixed, they were going out for a “sanga” (‘a sandwich’).

Don’t hesitate to ask if you don’t understand what someone’s said. They will quickly explain what they’ve said and you will have gained a new Australianism to add to your vocabulary.

Australian workplace culture: What should I say?

How you greet people will leave a lasting impression on those around you.

The standard Australian greeting is “G’day” (‘Good day’) or “Hello, how are you?”. Both show an interest in the wellbeing of whoever you are talking to. This will be appreciated, and the person you are talking to will be more open with you in conversation.

If you’re looking to start a conversation with a colleague and immerse yourself in Australian workplace culture, talking about sport is a good place to start.

Sport is a huge part of Australian culture, and almost everyone has a firm opinion about it. So, make sure you follow an Australian Rules Football team!

Australian workplace culture: What to avoid?

As with all workplaces, there are things you certainly should do. On the other hand, there are equally others that are best avoided.

For instance, poor hygiene is definitely one of these. As spacious as the typical work environment usually is, no one enjoys sharing the space with someone whose hygiene is substandard. In other words, deodorant is an absolute must if you want to be part of the Australian workplace culture!

Australia embraces its multicultural nature. However, the workplace can begin to fracture if workers feel excluded by a language barrier. Speaking a language other than English can be seen negatively as you will find that people will be unable to understand you.

In other words, a misunderstanding Australian listener may assume that you are taking advantage to speak badly of your co-workers.

Australian workplace culture tips: 

– Punctuality. Being late is not tolerated in Australian workplaces. So don’t be late!

– Politeness at work. A rude worker will demotivate the team. So always be polite, even if someone is rude to you.

– Teamwork. Australians love to help each other out. For example, if you demonstrate an ability to help your colleagues, you will be appreciated.

– Cleanliness. Always take pride in your appearance. It will certainly make you and your company look good. Similarly, your colleagues will appreciate it!

–  Good customer service. In addition to productivity, personality is king in the Australian workplace. Above all, offering your service with a smile will make you a valued employee.

– Hard work. There’s no room for staff who ‘slack off’. In other words, work hard!

– Professionalism. To clarify, to gain and retain a job in Australia, you must satisfy two interlocking criteria. Firstly, a good work ethic and dedication to your role. Secondly, you must let your personality show, being friendly to all around you. Accomplishing these two will solidify your status as an ideal worker.

Final thoughts:

An open and friendly personality will help you immensely in the Australian workplace. Moreover, good hygiene and manners are essential.

If you have any questions about fitting into the work environment, please get in touch so we can help you.

I wish you all the best in your job search!


Naren Chellappah – Career Coach and Director

Career Success Australia