The average Mongolian makes about $400 or so every month. Compared with other countries, it is on the smaller side, so sometimes people can have more than 1 job. However, here is what the average work day is like a for a middle-class white collar worker in Mongolia.
Waking up early in the morning
Usually people wake up around 6:30 in the morning to prepare for the day. The traffic in Ulaanbaatar is bad, hence people wake up earlier compared with cities that don’t have much traffic. Especially for families that have children, it is important to wake up early and have a set schedule, because not only do they have to drive their kids to their schools or kindergarden, but they have to also get to work by 9:00 o clock in the morning.
People end up losing 2 or so hours stuck in traffic just to go a few kilometers sadly. In the winter there are no alternatives and options besides sitting in traffic sadly because it’s almost -30 celcius outside!
After 2 or so hours of traffic jam and finally getting to the office, the first hour is mostly spent catching up with work and is rather usually quite, but this depends on the job and where they work. However, the real grind begins starting from 10 and 11.
Depending on the job, you meet clients, perform your duties and tasks. However, Mongolian culture has a tight-knit office environment. Your co-workers usually become your good friends whom you spend a lot of your time with in social setting, etc. So there is bound to be some goofing around the office and chit chatting during the first few hours.
Most offices are pretty standard and have the usual layout for an office. Some look like cubicles, whereas some look more old soviet buildings, whereas newer and up starting companies look modern with better interior design and equipment.
Some co-working offices and spaces that opened up recently in fact have some cool chairs, furniture, and design layout like in office home.
Depending on the job, some companies start lunch at 12 in the afternoon, whereas some others begin 13 in the afternoon, which lasts about an hour. Co-workers usually eat together at a nearby cafe or they bring their own food from home. Some companies have kitchens which people cook for their co-workers in switch.
Back to work
Around 14 o clock, people begin to settle down and focus on their work. Usually after lunch is when people go for meetings or time to get documents sorted and handled. This lasts for about 2-3 hours, before people start to shift towards the mood of ending the day and going home.
Back on the road and traffic
Beginning from 17 o clock, people start to pack things up heading back home. The work hours ends at 18 o clock, but some companies close a bit earlier and people get back in the car to go through another 2-3 hours of traffic. When it is 20 or 21 in the evening, people finally get home and make some dinner before relaxing for 1 or 2 hours and start their work day again.
So on average, the average Mongolian who lives in the city ends up spending at least 3 – 6 hours stuck in traffic. In the summer it is not as bad because you can walk to work, but during the winter, there is always traffic and it is a cause for a lot of stress for many people and wasted time.