Pennsylvania: Doing business & staying in touch

Doing business in Pennsylvania

Businesspeople are generally expected to dress smartly and western business courtesies should be observed. If seated, stand to greet a new person and be sure to give a firm but comfortable handshake. Appointments and punctuality are expected procedure and business cards are widely used. Dates in America are written month-day-year.


Businesspeople in Philadelphia dress well and, while suits are still the norm for both men and women in many offices and financial institutions, business dress has generally become more relaxed, particularly on Fridays when many companies allow casual dress. In winter, practicality takes precedence over style and a heavy coat, hat, gloves and waterproof boots are essential in bad weather.

The normal working day runs 0900-1700, although some businesses start earlier. Meetings often take place over lunch - generally taken between 1200 and 1300 or 1230 and 1330. Business cards should be exchanged at an appropriate moment, usually the end of a meeting. Where alcohol is concerned, it is best to err on the conservative side until a host's preferences are known. Many Americans stick to soft drinks at lunchtime. By and large, people are health-conscious and smoking or heavy drinking may be frowned upon in a business environment. Visitors may be invited for after-work drinks and/or dinner, although an invitation to the host's home is unlikely. Gifts are not necessary, although small items (such as pens with the company logo) are sometimes appropriate.

Office hours

Mon-Fri 0830-1730.

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