Working in Austria For Members

21 phrases to help you get on in a German-speaking office in Austria

The Local Austria
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21 phrases to help you get on in a German-speaking office in Austria
Photo: DPA

Working in a German-speaking office - especially in Austria - can be a tricky business, especially if you haven't quite mastered the language. The Local is here to help with some useful phrases to impress your colleagues.


Bonding with colleagues

1) "Servus!" Hallöchen!" (Hello! At your service! Hiya!)

Chirpy ways of greeting your co-workers – a step on from the more formal "Guten Morgen".  

2) "Schönen Feierabend!" (Have a nice evening!)

Even if you're just heading home to do the laundry and stick something in the microwave, German speakers still think it's time to party. Wishing your colleagues a "good party" is the standard German farewell after a day's work.


3) "Keine Sorge/ Kein Problem/ Nicht zu danken!" ("No problem/ you're welcome!")

These earn you a lot of brownie points – even if you don't entirely mean what you say.

4) "Ich bin ein Teamplayer"

A good example of showing both cooperative spirit and wonderful command of "Büro-sprech" (office speak), with a bit of Denglisch too.

READ ALSO: Essential German words to know as a student in Austria

Food and drink

5) "Mahlzeit/einen Guten/Wohl bekomm's!" (Bon appetit!)

English is unusual in foregoing the pleasantries before a meal, but German speakers take wishing someone "Guten Appetit" to the extreme. You might well hear a friendly colleague wishing you "Mahlzeit!" as you tuck into your afternoon snack or a morning banana.

6) "Wie wär's mit einem Kaffee/Tee?" (Who wants a coffee/tea?)

This can be used as either an excuse for leaving a tedious meeting, or to ingratiate yourself with your co-workers.

German speakers are always keen on coffee, but remember that offering tea could mean anything from green, strawberry and raspberry or the indeterminate "Kräutertee" (herb tea) – so if you want black tea with milk, be specific!

One of Vienna's beautiful coffee houses. Coffee culture extends into Austrian offices as well. (Photo by Rick Govic on Unsplash)

7) "Lass uns unbedingt einen Kaffee trinken gehen." (Let’s go and grab a coffee.)

When the office gets too sticky, "working" over a cup of coffee can allow you to while away a few hours in a coffee house.

READ ALSO: How to drink coffee like an Austrian


Tech troubles

8) "Auf geht's zur Telko!" (Time for the conference call!)

The weekly "Telko" (Telefonkonferenz) is a staple of German-speaking office life. Although, some German speakers now call it "der Conference Call".

9) "Können Sie mir bitte eine Mail schreiben?" (Can you send me an email?)

For all those who dread hearing the office phone ring, telling your colleagues to write you an email might help get around the foreign language nightmare of the phone call.

10) "Ich bin ohne Connectivity." (I don't have any internet connection)

The standard excuse for being unproductive....


11) "Ich kann dir das mal forwarden." (I can forward it to you)

Like "Downloaden", "Liken" and "checken", these English words have simply been incorporated into office talk to replace their slightly more long-winded German equivalents. Simply take any English word, add "en" and you're good to go.

12) "Das Issue muss adressiert werden. (The issue must be addressed)

13) "Da haben wir noch Potenzial." (We can still work with that)

Getting in a handful of English vocab gives you a certain status in the office and help you sound professional. These two phrases also allow you to avoid saying anything concrete.

14) "Ich setze das mal auf meine To-Do-Liste" (I'll put that on my to-do list)

As with many English words which have become firm favourites of German-speaking businesses – meeting, workshop, management – "To-Do-Liste" is a handy English-German hybrid, also because it makes it sound as if you have one.

Denglisch: The English words that will make you sound like a German speaker


Dealing with the boss

15) "Ja - das habe ich auf dem Schirm." (Yes – I am working on it)

The best way of reassuring your boss that all is under control, or "im Griff".

16) "Da warte ich noch auf Feedback." (I'm still waiting for feedback)

A good way of passing the buck and sounding cooperative and, yes, like a "Teamplayer".

17) "Habe ich eine Erhöhung verdient?" (Have I earned a pay rise?)

On the issue of pay, German speakers do not beat around the bush. Sometimes asking outright might be the best way to get on in your career.

Workers roud a

Bonding with co-workers is a great chance to practice your German in professional situations. Photo by Pixabay.

18) "Wir bleiben dran." (We're on the case)

If in doubt, stick to general, unspecific promises. It sounds determined, but is vague enough to leave you some wiggle room.

READ ALSO: The 'easiest' entry jobs to get in Austria if you don't speak German

Office relationships

19) "Kümmerst du dich darum?" (Do you mind taking that on?)

Knowing how to delegate and share the work around helps you avoid full responsibility for anything. Framing it as a question allows you to stay on good terms with your German-speaking colleagues.

20) "Der leidet heute an ganz akuter Unlust." (He's suffering from acute laziness)

Who says German speakers don't do sarcastic humour? This is the perfect way of describing a colleague who's decided to "blau machen" – pull a sickie.

21) "Wollen wir Du sagen?" (Shall we say "Du" to one another?)

If you're asking, make sure you time it right and read the situation. If a colleague is asking you, it's a sign you have been accepted as one of them.

The formalities have finally been dropped and you can now stop worrying about accidentally saying "du" instead of the formal "Sie" and appearing over-friendly.




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