American woman ‘shocked’ by London office culture of taking ‘long lunch breaks’ and ‘hatred’ of small talk

It’s no secret that London is a unique city filled with a number of its own idiosyncrasies and quirks. This fact is no different when it comes to the workplace, and London has made quite a name for itself for being a fast-paced, exciting city in which to pursue a career.

According to one woman from the United States, there are a number of key things which set London apart when it comes to office life, in comparison with our friends across the pond. Taking to TikTok, @tory.trombley shared her thoughts and insights with her 35,000 followers, and a number of Londoners were left amused.

Tory from the US described a number of “culture shocks” she was forced to contend after working amongst Europeans at a Big Tech company in London. Taking to TikTok, Tory said: “I had the biggest culture shock as an American working for a company in London with a tonne of Europeans.”

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She went on: “Honestly, it’s incredibly different working here in Europe versus working in the US […] the first obvious ones are things like respecting people’s work-life balance and PTO [Paid Time Off – aka holiday]. so in Europe, you are told to get offline at six or seven max, every single day.

“Same with PTO – you are always allowed to take your PTO allowance, no one will question you. Versus in the US, that is not the case. There’s also more subtle ones – I’ve noticed that a lot of Europeans on my team don’t like to play icebreaker games, where they have to describe things about themselves. They’ll roll their eyes – they don’t want to do it.”

Tory’s first TikTok on the topic has already been viewed over 970,000 times, and she has made three separate clips so far exploring the issues. The other key differences she has noticed include Europeans being reluctant to be outwardly ambitious at work.

Tory also voiced her view that there is a lack of small talk in meetings in the workplace in London, and that British people tend to want to “cut to the chase”. She added that she believes Europeans are more reserved about how they feel, and that Americans tend to eat at their desks, whereas her European colleagues block out specific time to take a break at lunchtime.

Unsurprisingly, a number of people working in London were quick to share their views in the comments section on TikTok. One said: “small talk is reserved for the time it takes to get everyone on the call – anything more than that is a waste of everyone’s time.”

Another added: “I’m not sure I agree with this. Americans tend to be more direct. British people tend to be very understated.” “I will literally leave a meeting if they started with an ice breaker without fail,” another TikTok user said.

Another added: “Not sure about getting offline at 6 but you do have more control over your work-life balance. Another area the US is falling behind on.” One added: “Yeah we don’t do icebreaker games, we prefer to go to the pub and get to know colleagues over a pint… or 5!”

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