By Christiane Rigos
Since we are still celebrating Labour Day this week, let’s take a closer look at the Canadian work environment and check some tips to adapt to work in Canada. Here are a few tips to help you adapt easily.
The first thing is that no matter how diverse and multicultural Brazil is, Canada is much more. Chances are you will work with people of more than 5 nationalities in the same office, so you must be aware of the differences, listen actively, use your observation skills, and do some research about other cultures. It will help a lot.
In Brazil, many of us are used to see our bosses like authorities, we are somewhat formal when dealing with the “powerful ” in the company, but here people treat their bosses respectfully but informally. There is more freedom to communicate.
Be mindful of people’s space. In Brazil, some of us like to touch people’s arms when talking or hug people we meet for the first time. In Canada, it will not be acceptable. Do not touch people when you talk to them or hug people you are not close to. Although we are all keeping two meters away because of Covid-19, when things go back to normal, we are expected to maintain the equivalent distance of an arm from the person we are talking to. If you get too close, people may feel uncomfortable
Don’t get too personal
When talking to co-workers, avoid asking personal questions unless the person starts sharing first.
Be clear when something bothers you
If a co-worker does not treat you the right way, be open and tell it to the person, and if things do not change, go to your supervisor or HR. This way, you avoid gossips. Communication here is more direct than in the Brazilian Culture. There is nothing wrong to communicate when something is bothering you, just make sure it is in a respectful way, and you are genuinely willing to improve your relationship with your co-worker.
Be a go-getter
Don’t wait for things you wish to be changed or happen. Go for them. In Canada, people take the initiative and speak up. It is expected you take the initiative in the workplace. Be clear about how you want to advance in your career. It is also important you communicate things, ask for help when you need it, say no if you will not be able to deliver and suggest improvements if you see a problem, you can help solve.
Arriving on time is ok, and good enough in Brazil but in Canada people are expected to arrive around 15 minutes earlier to their desks. This way, there is enough time for small talk with co-workers and some minutes to prepare to start on time.
Good news is that although in Canada the communication tends to be more direct, and less personal, Brazilians are usually flexible to adapt to the new environment and succeed. Being friendly and open to the new helps in the transition.