Finnish Work Culture


Have you been thinking of studying, working, or doing an internship in Finland? Read this article to educate yourself about Finnish work life and maybe this can help you with making the decision to move to Finland either temporarily or permanently. Finland is definitely one of the best countries to work in. In Finland, honesty, punctuality, and equality are top values. It is visible in all their culture, including their work life. Find out more about Finnish work culture but first check out NetBet Casino and have some fun! When you are ready, we can explore how it is to work in Finland.

Labour laws and agreements

There are many rules in Finnish working life that an employee and an employer must follow. Legislation and the collective agreement define, for example, minimum wages, working hours, holidays, sick pay, and dismissal conditions.

Sometimes an employer can ask an employee to work overtime. By law, the employer must pay an increased wage for overtime. You can also get compensation for free. You have the right to refuse overtime. Finns are very knowledgeable about laws, regulations and their rights and they will defend them if needed.

Learn Finnish or Swedish

Although people speak English quite well in Finland, it is especially useful for you to know Finnish or Swedish. You can develop your language skills through courses or work. Feel free to speak Finnish or Swedish with your colleagues. Finland is a bilingual country and which language will be most useful to you depends on which part of Finland you would be moving into. Generally, in the south west people speak Swedish while in the rest of Finland Finnish is the main language. All Finns learn both languages in school and should be able to speak both of them to a certain extend. Swedish is e Germanic language that belongs to the Indo-European language family. It may be easier to learn for most Europeans compared to Finnish because most European languages belong to the Indo-European family and will sound more familiar. Finnish on the other hand is a Finnic language belonging to the Uralic language family which has about 25 million speakers of different languages in the whole world belonging to this category making it the minority in this case. Finnish is considered to be a relatively difficult language but is a unique and beautiful language. Finns themselves know that Finnish is not the easiest language to learn and they really appreciate when a foreigner tries to speak Finnish of whatever level.

Equality and equality in working life

According to Finnish law, all forms of discrimination in the workplace are prohibited. The employer must ensure that equality including gender equality are achieved in the workplace.

Self-initiative and responsibility

At a Finnish workplace, the supervisor does not constantly monitor the employees’ work. Employees’ opinions are asked and taken into account in the planning of the work.

Work is usually agreed in joint meetings and the agreement is reached together. The supervisor gives the employee job duties and expects the employee to decide the details of doing the work themselves. If an employee is unable to perform a given job, they will go directly to ask other employees or a supervisor for instructions.

Reliability and adherence to schedules

In Finnish work culture, it is important to stick to the agreed things. When something is decided together, employees and the employer assume that everyone is doing as agreed.

In Finland, it is also important to follow schedules. You have to come to work at the exact agreed time. 8 am means exactly 8 am, not 8.10 am. Being late is rude because others have to wait for the late coming. If you know you are late for work, tell your supervisor.

Many workplaces have flexible working hours, and you can come to work between 7 am and 9 am and leave between 3 pm and 5 pm. If the workplace has flexible working hours, the employee must carefully ensure that they work the agreed length of time.

Communication style

Finns usually speak directly and speaking directly is not considered rude. Direct speech is also normal in working life. For example, if you do not have enough time to do the job, it’s worth saying it directly to your supervisor. In greetings and meetings, people will go straight to the point. In the Finnish work culture, the interview is very informal.

The impact of religion on working life

Many Finns are Christians but not deeply religious. However, many Christian customs are still followed in the culture. In working life, the influence of religion is evident in many employee holidays. Christian holidays, such as Christmas and Easter, are statutory holidays.

Religious customs or rituals do not belong to the Finnish workplace. Some workplaces have a place of prayer if employees have requested it. In general, however, such practices do not exist in the workplace. If the employee wants to have prayer time in the middle of the working day, for example, it must take place during agreed breaks. External signs of religion, such as headscarves, are permitted in Finland, but dress codes in the workplace must be followed. This is due to occupational safety and hygiene regulations related to work tasks.

Mutual respect, punctuality and good manners/politeness are self-explanatory in Finnish culture so is the respect of personal space and boundaries. Decisions in workplaces are made in agreement with all employees and Finnish work a lot independently without having to constantly consult with their manager. Honesty and speaking directly are crucial part in communication and they are perceived positively and considered also practical. Any kind of discriminations based on race, gender, sexuality, or anything else does not happen in Finnish culture. Finnish may be in general introverted or even a bit shy, but they are truly knowledgeable about their rights and they will always defend them. If everything you read so far sounds interesting to you start looking into different work or study opportunities in Finland.


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