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Ask About Office Timings – Small Talk India & America

Posted On: August 22, 2016

What are your office timings?

“What are your office timings?” 

This is a common question in Indian English. While this question is acceptable in the U.S., also, in American English, we would say it differently. The phrase “office timings” is not commonly used in American English. Listen to the video below to learn the common phrase or question we can use in place of “What are your office timings?” 

This video is one of many in the series, “Small Talk: India vs. the U.S.” In this series we will explore the differences between making small talk in business conversations in the U.S. and India, focusing on the differences between Indian English and American English while also looking at the acceptable and avoidable questions when interacting with Americans in business. 


Tutorial: Small Talk – How to ask about office timings/hours in the U.S. 

Is the word “timings” used in US American English?





What are normal office hours in India?
When do people in India typically go to work (with a focus on IT companies)?




If you find yourself using the phrase “office timings” a lot and want some other simple ways to ask similar questions, try these synonyms: 
  • When are you open?
  • When do you close?
  • When do you start work everyday?
  • What time do you finish work everyday?
  • What are your business hours? 
  • Wow, I couldn’t work the graveyard shift! (The “graveyard shift” refers to those whose working hours are 11pm to 7am). 

Or, ask it with the time inserted into it: 
  • Are your normal working hours 9am to 5pm? 
  • Do you start working at 10am? 
  • Do you close up shop at 7pm? (“Close up shop” is a great idiom that simply means “stop working.”) 

Do you notice something interesting in these replacements? Well, they are all easy to say – very simple English! Isn’t that a relief. So many we coach want to learn fancy vocabulary, but then if that vocabulary is not being used in daily conversations or not understood by those we interact with, it defeats the purpose. Where can you start inserting simple English in to your conversations to increase your conversational agility? 

To wrap up this post, here’s a funny business hours sign from a shop in Kanab, Utah.
When are you open?


Store hours sign at entrance


Jennifer Kumar, author of this blog, and video commentator, an American citizen is based in Kochi, India. She provides cross-cultural business training to Indians working in the software industry that with Americans. Contact us for more information.

Related Posts: 
Indian English Phrases Not Used in the U.S. 
American English Idioms about Time 
How to tell the time in American English 

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