Office Vocabulary in Hebrew: Israeli Office Culture

Even though all coffee shops in Tel Aviv are full of people 24/7 and shopping centers parking lots are filled to capacity, people in Israel do work. And very hard.

Offices in Israel, depending on the field of work, can be very different to the offices you have in your current city. The office’s structure, the social agreements, and even the hierarchy within the workday come to offer a different, innovative way to approach work; one that is more open and objective-oriented than other countries have.

In this article, we are going to teach you a few words from the office-related Hebrew vocabulary, and also, we’re going to give you some insights and tips on how to face this significantly different Israeli office culture.

The office culture in Israel: Flip flops, meetings around coffee, and goals being reached!

Unless you are a lawyer or a doctor, in almost every office in Israel you’ll see people walking around in flip-flops, with their dogs, and with a mug of coffee in their hand. Israeli offices try to offer their employees a fun and friendly environment to encourage them to produce more, in a space that enables them to actually do so.

This doesn’t mean that companies are not goal-oriented and that scary deadlines don’t exist. Companies and specific departments within them are extremely competitive since every single brand and product takes care of recruiting the most talented people out there. And they do.

Meetings: Lots of short, to the point, goal-oriented meetings

In most of Israelis hi-tech offices you’ll have lots of meetings, lots of them, decisions are made in groups and in a collective way. Of course, there are managers and bigger strategic decisions, teams are built considering the specific asset each member of that specific team can bring to the table.

These meetings don’t have to be held in big, fancy meeting-rooms, but either in the company’s kitchen or by putting 6 or 7 chairs around someone’s desk.

Family is always first: Children come to the office, and parents attend every single presentation their kids might have

Israel is a very family-friendly country. Both the laws and companies are very respectful with regards to what should always come first: Family. People are allowed – in almost every office in Israel – to come in early in order to leave before their kids finish school, are allowed to attend school events and presentations, and are even encouraged to bring their kids in while they are either on vacation or have no class.

Some companies in Israel organize summer camps for their employees’ kids and special activities during the weekend to bring families together, and to give employees that sense of belonging we all look for wherever we go.

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And when you are about to get married in Israel, companies will give you (almost) as much time as you need to make sure your wedding turns out just great. That, only if you bring picture magnets after the event to put on the office’s fridge.

Office-related vocabulary in Hebrew: The desk, the meetings, the lunch, and way more!

It is time to give you some content. We bet that after reading these last paragraphs you might be considering the possibility of working for, with or in an Israeli company, and even if that’s not the case, it is always great to learn some new Hebrew words. So make yourself comfortable, and learn these new Hebrew words:

Desk: Desk in Hebrew is שולחן (pronounced: shool-chan). You can find different kinds of desks, but all of them are named the same way.

Meeting room: Meeting room in Hebrew is חדר פגישות (pronounced: che-der p-gee-shot). Although, as we mentioned before, people use it either for very specific purposes, or for everything. Make sure you reserve one with the office’s מזכירה (secretary) before scheduling a meeting in one of them.

Manager: Manager in Hebrew is מנהל (pronounced: meh-nah-el), and it is the person in charge of guiding, evaluating and working with the team he or she is in charge of. Like everywhere in the world, you have some managers that are just סבבה (remember this word from the Hebrew slang article?) and some others that you cannot stand.

Team: Personally, I think this is the most important word, not only in the office but in life. Great things are done by teams, and good teams are built with respect, confidence, talent, good decisions, trust and smiles. “Team” in Hebrew is צוות (pronounced: tzeh-vet), and wherever you are working in the world, it is a word you must learn.

E-mail: As always, we want to give you a simple one. You know that when Eliezer Ben Yehuda re-built the modern Hebrew language, he didn’t have an active email account. Email in Hebrew is אי-מייל (pronounced: e-mail). Yes, as simple as that. See?

Office: Wow! How could we forget about this word and put it so late in the article? Office in Hebrew is משרד (pronounced: me-srad). And if you’d like to learn more about how offices work in Israel, we sincerely invite you to keep on reading this article.

Role: An office is composed of different kinds of people doing a number of different things. Managers, designers, salary controllers, content writers, accountants, etc. Each one of them has a specific role. Role in Hebrew is תפקיד (pronounced taf-kid). If you know what’s the right word in Hebrew, write in the comments below what’s your own תפקיד.

Learn Hebrew today and join one of the strongest economies in the world: Israel

Israel has a very low percentage of unemployed people and an extremely stable economy. New and exciting Israeli startups appear every day, and new innovative jobs position are being offered constantly. By learning Hebrew in one of our online courses, you’ll increase the chances of being part of this exciting system. Be honest, wouldn’t you like to come to the office wearing shorts and sandals? Learn Hebrew today and you’ll be way closer to doing so!

About the author

Arie Elbelman R.Arie was born and raised in Chile, and immigrated to Israel in his early twenties. He wants to take an active role in the development of this young and smart country. Arie believes that the best way to shape our present and future is to live with more horizontal hierarchies, to smile a whole lot, and to always, always respect each other.

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