Mahlzeit und schönes Wochenende
Breaks and mealtimes are taken quite seriously at workplaces in German-speaking countries.
Although traditions are slowly changing with more and more people cooking in the evening, many still eat their main meal in the middle of the day. In larger organisations, a canteen (die Kantine) might offer subsidised meals, or workers can take advantage of a cheap set menu (das Mittagsmenü) offered by many local restaurants from Monday to Friday. When sitting down at the table – whether at home or in the office canteen – it is common practice to say Guten Appetit (in Germany) or Mahlzeit (in Austria) before you start eating your meal. Therefore, a common greeting heard in the office when people leave for their lunch break is Mahlzeit!
The concept of Feierabend (finishing work for the day, literally to “celebrate the evening”) is also very important to many workers, and is reflected in the greeting Schönen Feierabend which you often hear when people leave work. The time when the Feierabend starts can vary, but some people working flexible hours prefer to start work early (between 7.00 and 8.00) and also finish early (between 15.00 and 16.00). Others like to work an extra half an hour or so from Monday to Thursday, so they can then finish early on a Friday afternoon or even at Friday lunchtime to start their weekend: Schönes Wochenende!
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