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What Are Business Days in the U.S. and Internationally?

Business days are an important aspect of all the functions, operations, or communications in the business world. But what are business days? Why should they vary from country to country, and what does it really indicate for the business world when business days vary internationally?

Defining Business Days

Business day usually refers to any day on which normal official business is conducted. This usually means to exclude weekends and public holidays. However, the definition of what actually constitutes a business day can mean something quite different from country to country and from one industry to another.

Normally, American business days run from Monday to Friday, excluding holidays, and running official hours from 9,00 A.M to approximately 5,00P.M. These are visible days during which almost all the companies, governments, and financial institutions are at work.

How Long Is a Business Day?

So when asked how long a business day is, the answer seems to be pretty clear: an 8-hour workday is fairly standard. But then, even this differs in one country from another, and it could depend on the nature of the work at hand. To many people in the US, a typical business day is 8 hours long, but in a different culture, legal system, or economy, it could be different.

Business Days in Different Countries


The concept of business days is close to that of the United States, although with most European countries, having Monday to Friday as their standard business days, while the working hours could differ; therefore, it is possible that in some countries, such as Spain, they may close for siesta in the afternoon and re-open in the evening, but this is only for illustrative purposes.

Therefore, for the UK, the regular working day is from 9:00 to almost 17:30, the week at work comprising five days starting with Monday and ending with Friday. Finally, some of the holidays recognized by the European Union are not part of the U.S.; thus, the variation may vary based on the definition of business days.


Business days are very different all over Asia. In Japan, business days normally lasts from Monday to Friday, from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM, but work culture over there is such that it could extend beyond these hours.

Similar to India, in China, business days are from Monday to Friday; however, working hours may be from 8:00 to 6:00 p.m. In both countries public holidays, like the Chinese New Year, may have a great effect on the business schedules.

Middle East

Most countries in the Middle East follow a five-day business week where the off days are considered the weekend. For instance, due to the hot climate in the United Arab Emirates, the business day is usually between 8:00 AM and 1:00 PM and 4:00 PM and 7:00 PM. This modification sets the duration for a business day and what is to be considered a business day.

Time is Money

The Importance of Business Days

Understood what days are business days is an important consideration in many ways so that if, for example, one sends an email from the USA on Friday evening, the answer might come only on Monday, the first business day.

Another important reason for defining business days is that many contracts and agreements refer actions or monetary payments in a defined number of business days. Misinterpretation of the exact meaning of a business day between various parts of the world can lead to expensive delays or, at worst, be the cause for breaking contracts.

International Business Considerations

International Business Companies operating internationally should therefore have in mind the prevailing business day conventions in those countries where the company operates its business activities. For example, a company in the U.S. doing business with a partner in the Middle East.

Moreover, they traditionally operate at least in many time zones and are subject to several variations of business day conventions, so that keeping the business moving requires nuanced communication across the enterprise. A good example is the normal scheduling of shipments and delivery times that need to take into account the applicable definition of business day.

How Technology Influences Business Days

A business day is hence redefined in today’s digital age. As traditional business hours shore up, digital booms such as flexible work schedules and digital communication tools gave enough power for most companies to work beyond the 9-5 standard nowadays.

Online businesses, in particular, can operate every hour of the day, providing service and support nonstop. Nevertheless, customer expectation and service level very often still remain in the frame of the business day of the past. At the same time, understanding of these one’s expectations becomes the key to both keeping good relations with customers and staying effectively operationally.

See Also: How Many Work Days in a Year


Everyone in business must be familiar with the term “business days,” whether working in a local or international market. Basically, the idea remains the same: a day on which business is conducted. Geography, cultural, and industrial differences can make the specifics of this basic idea vary widely.

In US, business days ranges from Monday till Friday, and usually will be from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, except for holidays; it, however is quite different on international basis. Whether it be the Spanish siesta hours, the longer working hours of Japan, or perhaps the workweek of Sunday-till-Thursday of the Middle East, each region is unique in its culture and tradition.

In operating businesses across borders, these differences take considerable attention for purposes of timely communication, compliance with contracts, and the smooth operation of global supply chains. Now that technology has blurred the lines of traditional business hours, staying aware and being flexible to these differences is still a great recipe for success in the global market. Lastly, your questions, such as “how long is a business day” and “what days are business days,” can greatly impact your business strategy and operational considerations. By being able to take advantage of these differences, businesses will be better equipped to understand and respect others, therefore having an easier time facing the challenges that confront them in international business.

Alma Reed is an author and researcher dedicated to enhancing productivity. She is deeply interested in areas such as time management, increasing productivity, and fostering healthy routines. Through her writing, she aims to assist people in boosting their job performance and attaining an ideal balance between work and life.

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