Friday, August 22, 2008

The Art of the Swiss Greeting...

I have read a lot recently about the Swiss' almost obsessive nature when it comes to greetings. I have yet to experience the mass greetings of the Swiss in public settings, but I have noticed it at work.

Every morning, as my colleagues arrive, each person goes around the office sending friendly morning greetings.



"Hallo Jessica. Hallo Brigetta. Hallo Jan."

"Guten Morgen!"

It is a nice way to start the day, if I do say so myself.

Coffee? Check. Gipfel? Check. Morning breath eradicated and smiled warmed up for morning greetings? Check.

Then at the end of the day, the same. The goodbye greetings are spread, taken very seriously by those that visit each co-worker's desk to wish them a good evening personally and cordially. Others politely wish a cubical goodnight and good riddance - er, I mean good bye. Actually, the friendly atmosphere which is created by these greetings makes the office seem much more personal, coworkers less distant and more mindful of each other. (But don't expect the invites to dinner to come pouring in just because you got a "Goobye Susie"... this is another topic entirely.)

I admit - I am still not the greatest greeter. I merely send my 'Goodnights' into the Luft and hope that all the ears in the vicinity get the message as I bolt for the door. But I am trying. Each day I am a bit better with the eye contact. Each day I stop a bit earlier to do the rounds. The immersion is working... now if only I could remember their names!


Bluefish said...

I think it's great that people are being friendly to each other. It's more common for Asian to do so, but I'm glad to hear that some Europeans are very warm.

Adrian said...

Ah, I kinda miss that. That daily procedure is vexing me every single day at the office in America. There is apparently no rule whatsoever. One day they say "good morning", "what's up", "how's it going" or "good-bye", "good night" and "Adios" -- yet, the next day, nothing.

Anonymous said...

I am Swiss and read this blog with great interest from Asia, where I have been living an Expat life for many years. Here it really struck me first that people left office in evening without a word, no good bye, or see you tomorrow. In Switzerland it is merely a polite way to announce that you are leaving, so that people are informed in case anyone is asking for you, such as a client or friends etc... it is simple announcement and polite form of telling others that you are in office or you are leaving. Swiss care alot about this and if you leave without a word, or dont say GUETE MORGE in morning (just when you enter door) it would feel strange and people would think something is wrong....its funny but thats how it is :-)

En Schoene,


Contact me. | Advertise on Swisstory