Indonesia: Appointment Alert! – Part 1


Making appointments

When writing the date in Indonesia, the day is listed first, followed by the month, then the year [i.e., November 15, 2008 would appear as 15/11/08].

Large corporations require you to schedule appointments more than a week in advance, while most other organizations are willing to make appointments on short notice.

Business hours are generally 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, with additional hours on Saturday mornings. Some businesses have a full workday on Fridays, although Muslim employees will take at least one hour off on Friday to pray. Saturday hours generally end by 1:00 p.m.

The traditional lunch period is from 12:00 p.m. or 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.; lunch is often the largest meal of the day.

Most government offices keep an 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. schedule, with a half-day on Friday or Saturday.

Although business transactions and correspondence are frequently conducted in English, attempts to use Bahasa Indonesia, the country’s official language, are also appreciated. Moreover, all official correspondence with government officials must be in Bahasa Indonesia. Use of the language is also mandated for many advertisements and publications.

Although many government officials will speak some English, they may prefer to hold meetings in Bahasa Indonesia. Fortunately, English-speaking translators are usually easily accessible but may not be trustworthy in their translations.

Most businesspeople and most government officials are indigenous Indonesian, and their concept of time is very different from that of the Chinese Indonesians. Generally, Indonesians place less of an emphasis on efficiency, punctuality, and deadlines–hence the popular concept of ‘rubber time’ [‘jam karet’] that exists in Indonesia. Consequently, it is important to remain patient and accommodating in all of your dealings with Indonesians.

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