New Year’s Greetings at the Office

New Year's Greetings at the Office

During the last business day of the year, it is customary in Japan to greet everyone you were working with that year. This is part of greasing work relationships and helps to “sell your face” as the Japanese say, making sure people know who you are and have a positive impression.

Who to greet

Your boss, your manager, your company’s director, New Year’s greetings are a great opportunity to approach even higher ups. A smile and an energetic voice and you are sure to leave a good impression.

But deciding who to greet gets harder the bigger the company. As a simple rule of thumb, make sure that your direct line bosses and anyone who helped you out or you worked with during the year are on your list. Then you just need to figure out a good time and place to get a hold of them.

When to do it

At all companies, this is done on the last day of work before the New Year’s vacation. At what time though depends on the company. Some companies will only work half-day, or have a big cleaning, some companies might encourage you to do it during work hours while at other’s outside of work hours is customary.

Take a look around how your coworkers are doing it and follow their example. In some companies it might even be common to go in a group. So if you have a chance tagging along with someone is a great way to learn the ropes.

What to say

The last day of work is usually hectic and busy, so keeping your greetings short is best. As a guideline cover these three points:

  1. Task/project you worked on together
  2. Gratitude (as specific as possible)
  3. Happy New Year

In text form, this could look something like this.

General version

(department)の(name)です。(Only if the person might not know you.)

今年ことし一年いちねん大変たいへん世話せわになりました。
Thank you for all your help this year.

仕事しごと をご一しょさせていただきまして勉強べんきょうになりました。ありがとうございます。
I learned a lot while working together, thank you.

来年らいねんもどうぞよろしくおねがいいたします。いおとしをおむかえください。
Please take good care of me next year too. Have a good year!

Thankful version

If it is someone you worked together with closely or who really helped you out, add one more section before the final greeting and name the project or a specific situation where that person supported you.

今年ことし一年いちねん大変たいへん世話せわになりました。
Thank you for all your help this year.

仕事しごと をご一しょさせていただきまして勉強べんきょうになりました。ありがとうございます。
I learned a lot while working together, thank you.

そのせつ資料作しりょうづく
りをたくさん手伝てつだっていただきまして、大変たいへんたすかりました。ありがとうございます。
I am really grateful for that one time where you helped me prepare the documents.

また、自分じぶんがおちからになれることがございましたらおこえかけください。
If there is anything I can help with please let me know.

来年らいねんもどうぞよろしくおねがいいたします。いおとしをおむかえください。
Please take good care of my next year too. Have a good year!

Apologizing version

If you caused some sort of trouble to this person, try this format for your greeting.

今年ことし一年いちねん大変たいへん世話せわになりました。
Thank you for all your help this year.

仕事しごと をご一しょさせていただきまして勉強べんきょうになりました。ありがとうございます。
I learned a lot while working together, thank you.

そのせつは、自分じぶんのミスで、作業さぎょうがやりなおしになってしまいまして、大変たいへん迷惑めいわくをおかけしました。もうわけありませんでした。
I am really sorry for the inconvenience I caused that time when we had to redo that task because of my mistake.

来年らいねん細心さいしん注意ちゅういはらって業務ぎょうむおこなっていきます。
Next year I will pay close attention to my tasks.

来年らいねんもどうぞよろしくおねがいいたします。よいいおとしをおむかえください。
Please take good care of my next year too. Have a good year!

In the New Year

The first day you are back to work you repeat a shortened version of the same process. Greet your direct superiors from team leader to department manager, director, or whatever the highest level of communication is at your company. In my company, I see many people do it in the morning of the first day, but here again, the timing may vary from place to place.

This time it’s even easier than at the end of the year.

あけましておめでとうございます。今年ことしもどうぞよろしくおねがいいたします。
Happy New Year! I hope we can work well together again.

Give these phrases a try. They can do wonders for your work relationships next year.

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Madelaine

After traveling around for a while, I found my home in Tokyo. Now working in Shinjuku and discovering something new about Japan every day.