Scandinavian proverbs ‘Hygge’, ‘Lykke’, and ‘Lagom’ have garnered armies of inspired advocates across the world. Epitomising the lifestyle aspirations of the mindful hipster, they are enriching the mindsets of trend-setters and online influencers across the world.
But there’s a lot to be learned from the balanced and ethical approach our Nordic neighbours live by, specifically their approach to work.
Take the Danish for instance. A balanced, fair, and conscientious approach to work and life puts the Danes ahead of its EU counterparts when it comes to achieving that coveted work life balance.
Balance is the cornerstone of business culture in Denmark; a lifestyle that sets the bar for aspiring countries worldwide. Work ferociously between the hours of 8am-4pm, but stay any later than 4pm and expect your time management capabilities to come under scrutiny.
Presenteeism just isn’t a thing, as spending time with families, taking part in recreational activities, and cooking a well balanced meal for supper are prioritised once the clock strikes 4pm.
Having said that, workers are given the autonomy and flexibility to choose when they start their day, with flexible working and the option of working from home a big factor in business culture. In Denmark, you are expected to work independently and show initiative.
Punctuality is expected in meetings, and deadlines should be met, but otherwise, you’re free to carry your work where and when you wish. The 37 hour working week comes with a degree of flexibility that other countries aspire to emulate.
And it’s not just a trend. Research shows that workers are 12% more productive when in a positive state of mind, which might explain why Denmark is the second most productive country in the EU. They also boast the highest number of women in the workplace, currently at 75%
And, 43% of Danish employees can regulate their working hours to meet their private needs.
The Danish working culture is built around communication, collaboration and personal responsibility. Workers are expected to take initiative, get the job done properly, and meet deadlines, regardless of whether they choose to work on site or from home. There’s also a strong element of trust that succeeds all flexible, remote working opportunities.
But that’s perhap where we can learn from the Danes. While they enjoy a high degree of autonomy, empowerment, and initiative, productivity peaks.
So how can we mirror the Danish way to inject some happiness, balance, satisfaction, and as a result, productivity into the English work culture?
It’s not uncommon for an office in Denmark to be completely deserted by 4.30pm - a concept that seems alien to most Brits. But with more flexibility, those hours are valued; time becomes of greater value. In addition, the trust and communication demonstrated by managers is arguably returned in the form of conscientiousness, care, and respect. And the opportunity to work with flexibility means deadlines are met, thanks to the ease of being able to login and work remotely, whenever needed.
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Written by Chris Coupe
Chris is a director at RunTech. Having spent six years in business development and management, he plays an invaluable role in seeking out new opportunities and driving the company forward.