Understanding the work culture in Porto

The work culture in Porto
Updated 2023-11-12 07:43

As a relatively big and well-developed city, you will find all kinds of companies when looking for a job in Porto. Depending on whether you are part of a very small, family-owned business or integrated into a multinational company based in Porto, the best way to properly fit in your new company is to be very upfront and verbal about what you expect from your job and how far you are willing to go to contribute to the company's growth. As long as you keep things out in the open, everything should work out just fine.

Working hours in Porto

One of the most significant issues in the Portuguese work culture is that workers are expected to work overtime for free. This is something younger generations and foreign companies have been contributing to change and improve, but still, you will quickly realize that most people work far more hours than what they are paid for (40 hours per week, normally) and tend to leave the workplace at least an hour after their work shift is over. Despite this not being a very smart or goal-oriented approach - since it actually tends to decrease people's productivity and overall sense of happiness in the workplace - be prepared for some negative reactions by your bosses and even some work colleagues if you decide to get off your chair at 6 pm when your work is done for the day.

The dress code in Porto

When it comes to the dress code in Porto, things differ significantly according to your area of expertise, but companies tend to be more formal than casual. Generally speaking, the workspace tends to be fairly conservative with smart casual attire. Men are expected to wear trousers and shirts – maybe even a suit and tie, depending on the line of work – and women should be equally formal, with shirts and blouses or a dress (below the knee) and tights. Jewelry should not be excessive, and tattoos should stay covered, especially if working face-to-face with customers (such as in hotels, restaurants, bars and shops).

If you have a job that implies meeting new people and engaging in meetings with clients, then you are expected to look sharp, and that often means having a clean and elegant outfit. Some jobs are stricter than others. For instance, if you are planning on working in banking, finance, or investment, expect to be asked to wear very formal clothing.

Holidays and paid time off in Porto

Portugal is a traditionally Catholic country, so expect a good deal of national holidays, with many of them referring to religious traditions most people don't even observe anymore. Currently, accounting for the municipal ones, Portuguese workers enjoy 14 public holidays. Furthermore, it is also customary for some companies to close down for 1 or 2 weeks in August and/or for the week between Christmas and New Year's Eve. However, those days will be discounted from your annual paid time off, which currently stands at a minimum of 22 days per year. However, some companies are currently offering more days in a bid to attract talent.

Work environments and after-work hangouts in Porto

Portuguese people, in general, don't usually have their personal and work lives entangled in one another, and the same thing happens in Porto. This means you won't see a lot of teams leaving work and casually going downtown for some drinks. That being said, you are obviously expected to contribute to a good workplace environment for everyone. Most corporate events are organized and planned ahead by the HR team and usually have a motive or a theme, like Christmas dinner parties or somebody's birthday.

Most companies are still tied to the existence of rigorous hierarchy models, which could be a shock if you are used to running your own business, doing freelance jobs, or simply working in a company with a horizontal hierarchy system. Even though this is a very realistic painting of the city's work culture, things are slowly changing as new generations are claiming more benefits and a more balanced approach to work and family time.

Be sure to research properly about the company you are about to be part of and be honest about your expectations and availability – this will be key to your success from the start!

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