Nordic work culture Expats need to know

Nordic work culture is an important topic that any expat should explore. To start with, the Nordics is an umbrella name for the countries of Sweden, Finland, Norway and Denmark, ranks among the best places for expats looking to work. In actual sense, the Nordic countries host quite a number of foreigners working in various sectors of the economy from skilled, professional, semi-skilled and unskilled. Any foreigner interested in working in Europe would have all the reasons to come and live in a region whose countries rank among the happiest globally, companies paying lucrative salaries, standard of living high and what not.

True to its claim of happiness, the Nordic region guarantees workers an organized workplace with a clear overview. But as a foreigner, success at work in the Nordics isn’t all about what you know or have skills about.  To start on the right footing on your job in the Nordics, it is important to understand the work culture and align yourself with it for that’s the only sure way out. 

Work culture explained

Probably as you read this, you have the desire or thoughts of working in the Nordics. Could be that you’ve read something about the great social security offered in the countries, its great attractions and job opportunities. It is so much better and in order to be ambitious and seek out new opportunities in the Nordics. It is an unwritten rule but for a fact, the Nordic countries recognise skills, competency, workplace efficiency and flexibility of optimal outcomes.

In the Nordics, lazy people would not sign up for jobs, show up at work in the morning already tired, hang a coat, flip through newspapers and sign off. You must just set goals, work with clear timelines and deliver set targets without quality compromise. The setting and operations of  things surely follow a well designed pattern. 

Demystifying Nordic Work Culture

The mentioning of Nordic Work Culture may first come out as being something to do with fashion, foods, traditions, language and such. Yes, those are part of culture but in the workplace too, there is a set of culture which sustains operations. 

Culture here simply means the ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society. Every country or even groups of individuals such as at the workplace  have their own ways of organization.  A good work culture for example in a business organization may lead to an increment in profit since each employee knows what is expected of him /her. 

According to analysis done by economists , developed nations always have a reputable working culture that circulates their levels adequately hence developments. Those who transit from another country to the Nordics may likely meet a shock of life from the design and operations. Things operate in a particular way for specific goals to be met. 

Work culture in the Nordics

To start with, expats come to the Nordics in high spirits and a particular desire to succeed in their careers. In fact, any foreigner coming to work in the happiest region of the world expects nothing less than juicy salaries and a whole attractive package of benefits. Yes, for a fact employment in the Nordics give ambitious people a chance to grow their experience and earn competitively. But to keep pace with the work culture in Denmark and really achieve personal goals, a lot of effort and norms apply. 

In the Nordics, you expect to find equal opportunities at all levels. Of course there has been furore  about differences in wage levels between women and men, so much effort goes towards leveling the ground in all possible dimensions. Don’t be surprised to find women leading some of the sectors that would ordinarily be a preserve of men elsewhere. 

The Nordics know way too well that equal opportunities and a good work-life balance are not just a matter of rights but  good for the economy. Promoting gender equality has helped generate prosperity in the Nordic countries. Affordable childcare, education and parental leave for both mothers and fathers have enhanced well-being and triggered economic growth.

Personal Prosperity for workers in the Nordics

Nordic prosperity has so much to do with the structure of the workplace and economy. As a worker in the Nordics, you can be sure to have a high gross income but something that sticks out is high taxes. You’ll likely have an average of 50% of your income going into taxes and deductions. 

If you are keen enough, people who work in the Nordics may be complaining of the high taxes which together with the high cost of living leaves them with nothing to save. The only way to work around the tax issues and deductions is using your employment and incomes as a guarantee for loans. There are so many loans to take advantage of as an employed person in the Nordics. 

Schooling system in relation to the work in Nordic countries

The schooling system in the Nordics has a structure in which skills and knowledge match needs of the economy. There is a focus on not loading learners with unhelpful knowledge and only giving them a set of information that lead to a particular career path. In most cases, colleges and universities partner to offer traineeships and internships aimed at wholly developing the student to match up with the industry expectations. 

As someone who wants to work within the Nordics, be informed that you’ll have colleagues who have spent much of their time training for what they do. At the very least, they are already good and only try to tweak their skill sets a bit to respond to daily assignments. 

Viewpoint on the quality of working life in the Nordics

Each employee in the Nordics has an equal chance of getting promotion or any other packages that come with excellence at work. So, an ambitious person can take a job at a lower level with a guarantee that when they excel in whatever tasks taken, they will over time ascend the ladder to whatever levels desired.  This feeling of appreciation accompanies your self-confidence and boosts the outcome.

Most companies also eliminate bureaucracies to adopt a flat management structure with an open door policy that makes each employee feel involved. To a reasonable level, employees in the Nordics are in charge and somehow cut the image of being  their own boss. 

There are other differences too. Working overtime might be seen as hardworking or conscientious in the US but in the Nordics, people head home promptly at 5pm. Overtime isn’t valued – in fact, in most cases, it may cast doubts on an employee’s orderliness. Having to work overtime will likely send the message that you are a poor time manager. In Finland for example, there is a deliberate process to make working enjoyable and less strenuous. So, employees’ working hours are also flexible . This flexibility helps people balance their lives around their jobs, for instance, being able to leave early to pick up the kids from school.

The spirit of Janteloven in Nordic Workplaces

A conducive work environment always encourages one to do a perfect job  thus boosting morale of work. Additionally, it’s worth mentioning that the Janteloven concept dramatically reduces the risks of a hostile work environment. 

Unlike in the US system, where employees often need to seek the support of an employment lawyer to be able to work without fear of harassment,  Nordic countries  embrace the idea that each person is equal; that we shouldn’t consider ourselves above anyone else in our workplace or community. Scandinavian workplaces have a real sense of equality and trust between employees and employers.

Medical coverage at work places

In the Nordics, workplace safety and security top the list of priority for any form of employment. You will find that each employee has an updated insurance coverage. Of these coverages for employees. Medical coverage in the workplaces is the most common and basic. The companies domiciled in the Nordics take it as a responsibility to provide coverage for employees from the first day at work to the last. 

While some people may argue that having medical cover for every employee may cost businesses more in the short-term, it’s great in the long-term. In fact it  not only improves the health and wellbeing of employees but also reduces absenteeism. Employees get a general feeling that their welfare matter, hence motivation.  So the costs, inevitably cancel out over time.

Going through the above conducive and flexible norms of work in the Nordics, you are fully satisfied that so far it’s the best place to work. Don’t waste time anymore make money faster without embarrassment and rigidity by employers!