Work In Finland – 8 Tips to Understand Finnish Working Culture

Work In Finland – 8 Tips to Understand Finnish Working Culture


– Will you be working in Finland? Or will you be having business
meeting with Finnish people? Because today, I will show
you eight practical tips on how to do business with Finnish people and how to understand the
Finnish working culture better. Let’s go check them out. What up, Finntastics? How are you doing today? My name is Aleksi and
I create awesome videos about Finnish culture,
lifestyle, and language. So if you’re even slightly
into those kind of things, hit that subscribe
button, because you will turn on Finntastic Squad and you will get more awesome Finnish videos in the future. Number one, equality. Quick disclaimer. The things that I’m going
to show in this video are not 100% accurate in every workplace or at every job, but
just general guidelines, so keep that in mind
while watching this video. In Finnish workplace, we
have really flat hierarchy. And from practical perspective,
this means that we, for example, just call each
other with our first names. We don’t use the titles. We don’t use the last names. We just use first names, just like people do in
their everyday lives. And if you ask me, these
hierarchies or formalities would make working quite slow
and clumsy, if you ask me. Of course, this means that the seniority and ranking and everything exist, but not really when we are interacting with each other and hanging out with other employees at workplace. If you compare, for example, with Japan, it’s a completely different story, because these kind of things, they are really much worse in Japan. But not in Finland. Finland is quite casual and quite relaxed in terms of formalities. Number two, expect them to
carry out tasks independently. At Finnish jobs, there’s no such things as micromanaging, bossing, or monitoring. But instead, the bosses usually trust and rely on their subordinates that they do what they are told to. This means that we have
flexibility and freedom on how we do actually do our job and how to carry out the tasks. So practically speaking,
the results matter, and it doesn’t really
matter how you get them as long as you do it. But this also means if
you have some problems or some obstacles at
your job or your task, you need to let your
boss know proactively. I mean, they’re not going to ask you, because they just trust that
everything is going fine. So remember, if you need some help, have some problems, you
need some excess time, you need to be proactively letting your boss know about that. Number three, punctuality. And this is really, really
important everyone in Finland, not just in business
culture and working culture. If you agree, for example, for a meeting at eight sharp, it means eight sharp. Not five past eight, not
five to eight, eight sharp. And I strongly recommend to be there at least 10 to five minutes early, rather than risking being late. For example, that’s what I always do. If I’m supposed to meet a friend at eight, I’m usually there like 10,
five minutes early myself. And I strongly recommend
you guys to do the same. Of course, some people are a
little bad with the schedules, but my advice is to be on time. Being late is considered rude and very impolite, so
make sure you’re on time. Number four, straight to the business. Let’s say if you have a
meeting with Finnish people. We Finns expect go
straight to the business. We don’t spend time on chitchatting or asking how are the kids or something. Cut the chitchat and go
straight to business. And this kind of informal
stuff is seriously left out for coffee breaks,
lunch breaks, and so on. General tips for meetings,
keeping the stuff neutral and focusing on the facts. And there’s not really
this kind of subtleties with changing the tone of
your voice or anything. We just focus on the pure
facts and logical stuff. I think it’s a good thing, because you don’t have to
kind of interpret anything because all the business
decisions and everything, all the decisions are based on the facts. And also, if we comment on something, we say something, we usually mean it. And that’s also a good
thing to keep in mind. And also the word carries
a lot of power in Finland. If someone promises you something, you can pretty much 99% expect that they will also
deliver what they promised. And if there’s something
you have to prepare or present to the meetings,
remember to be prepared and keep the stuff concise. That’s good for Finnish people. By the way, if you find these tips useful, don’t forget to hit that like button. Number five, interaction. Let’s say you meet some new
people at your workplace. It might be some colleagues or some business people, whatever. There’s nothing too special
regarding the interaction. So when you are introducing yourself, firm handshake, not a death
grip or not too loose, eye contact, and to say your full name, first name, last name,
and that’s usually enough. And no extra touches,
kisses, or hugs in Finland. Keep in that mind. (siren wailing) And as for business cards,
not too special a resource or anything related to that. We just exchange them and it’s always good to put them in your wallet to keep it as a sign of respect. We don’t refer to ourselves
with our title unless it’s necessary or in a
professional context. Let’s say if I had a business meeting, I’m going to meet my client. I’m not going to say
like I’m Aleksi Linna, sales manager or anything. I’ll just say Aleksi
Linna, nice to meet you. And that’s enough. Okay, what I mean by that is that maybe during the self-introductions we can let them know what’s
our position in the company, but after that, there’s no really need to refer to ourselves with the title. But let’s asy if I was introducing my boss to a business client, and I would say this is
Uuno Turhapuro Managing director, for example, like this. When we refer to ourselves, we don’t really refer us with titles. That’s not really necessary. When you’re doing business with Finns, don’t be too avid, and
don’t be too excited. I’d say it’s better to tone
yourself down a little bit, and kind of blend in
rather than standing out. Of course there are some exceptions, and you can usually
tell what’s the best way to hang out with the
Finns once you’ve kind of got the first impression. ‘Cause some are more subtle and stuff, and some are more funny
and kinda outgoing. So just kinda reading the people can also get you far with Finns. The relationship with Finns are usually built outside the office. For example, if you get
an invention to sauna, that’s a great way to build
business relationships with those Finnish people. Number six, work-life balance. In Finland, it’s more about working smarter not harder, or longer hours. And usually we have just
seven-and-a-half hours workday, from Monday to Friday, and
there can be some overtime work. And it’s kind of normal. I mean, if you have some
big project going on and you need to work a
little bit more, that’s okay. But you usually get
either compensated for it, or you have flexible hours. Which means that if you
do two hours extra today, you can leave two hours earlier tomorrow. So I think it’s quite
well-handled in many Finnish jobs. And this means that we are not devoted ourselves to our work. Again, if we compare to Japan. By the way, if you’re
wondering why I’m doing these Japanese comparisons is that I used to live one year in Japan, and I followed the culture quite close. And in Japan, they work really
hard and really long hours. But if you ask me, I
think here in Finland, we have a quite good balance between work and real life, so to say. Number seven, dress code. And of course dress
code depends on the work and the kind of job you’re doing. But if you ask me, I think it’s quite relaxed
and quite flexible. Many of the jobs where I’ve been don’t really have dress code. For example, I was working
at the uni for the summer, and I was just there with
t-shirt, shirts, and sandals. It was okay. But, for example, my friend
is working as a data analyst, and he has a business
code, like a smart casual. So he has to wear a nice shirt and jeans. And, for example, it
was a really hot summer and he wasn’t allowed to wear shorts because of the dress code. But usually depends. Like for example, if you’re in a work where you need to meet clients, when you’re going to meet the clients, of course you wanna
have a business attire. And it depends on the job. It could be a suit or just a
nice, collar shirt with jeans and nice shoes, these kind of things. You don’t really have to
worry about this that much, because you will get all that
instructions at your work. And the last point we have is religion is not present at the Finnish jobs. And you might be wondering why
I take this one to this list. The reason is that when I was
doing research for this video, I found that this religion actually popped up in quite a few articles, because I guess in many other countries, religious rituals and these kind of things can be a part of the work life. But in Finland, it’s not. For example, religious symbols and scarves and these kind of things are allowed in Finland and at Finnish jobs. Prayers and these kinds of things should be taken with your own breaks, so the jobs don’t allocate time
to do these things, usually, so I usually just have to
do them on your own time. As for Finnish people,
religion is pretty much losing its importance day by day. People keep quitting
the church all the time, and definitely at work, religion has no importance whatsoever. What kind of observations have you made working with Finland, or doing
business with Finnish people? I’d love to hear your comments. Drop them in the comment below, and make sure you also subscribe so you get more Finntastic
videos in the future. See you in the next video
somewhere. (clicks tongue)

Author: Kennedi Daugherty

48 thoughts on “Work In Finland – 8 Tips to Understand Finnish Working Culture

  1. Very good advice, Aleksi. It drives me crazy when people are late. And micromanaging is so popular in the U.S. if the boss left you alone, you could get a lot more done. 👍🏻😊

  2. I know about religion quite a lot..even as a married a finnish man ,my children are catholic,and my grand children to,even that my daugther husband and my husband too,are Lutheran…but they say that really not much people there belive .

  3. Interesting! I have a question, what type of music do finnish people (in general) prefer most? And what is your favorite song right now?? 😊

  4. Moi Aleksi,
    Have you moved to Helsinki for the new job yet? If so, I sincerely hope that all is going well. I thoroughly enjoyed this video. I run my eight departments at the city based on the "Finnish" model. It took a year or so for them to get used to it but everything has been running much better. I hate to be called "sir" or "mister". It confuses these Texans when I stop them from doing that. They call me the foreigner and I reply, "you are absolutely correct and I'm damn proud of it!" You gave great advice, so here is my advice to you. The workplace is like a team of sled dogs pulling in the same direction towards a common goal, however, unless you are the lead dog out in front of the team, the view never changes. Think about it. Heippa, Steve

  5. I worked at a company that had offices around the world, some of my observations: Finland was the easiest to work with, anything they were asked to do was done efficiently and on-time with very little communication, but it was very difficult to get in touch with someone on a Friday. Germans would agree to do things one way then do it their own way they felt was better, then get caught and complain that our way sucked. Italians would protest and even file lawsuits if they weren't happy for any reason whatsoever. Japanese were "yes" men that would agree but say they needed management approval which would take weeks to work up the chain through 3-5 managers. Indians would work hard unless something required government approval at which point even the simplest project would experience 2-3 year delays and require bribes. Chinese would take a few days to understand what was being asked then do whatever it took to get the task done but none of their offices could pass an audit due to pirated software, even on retail purchased equipment. Brazil had difficulty with keeping offices staffed but did great business regardless, it was as though as soon as someone made any decent money there they disappeared. UK was basically the same as the US but in a difficult timezone to hold meetings with.

  6. In Lebanon its rude to be on time (at least in the Armenian community) if you agree on 6:00 you must come at 6:30 to 7:00 or people may think your stupid. I hate it!!

  7. I am like this too😂 no beating around the bush here. I know who is the boss and the assistant boss in the grocery store I worked at, and i often referred to my boss as the boss when i speak to people outside of my work and then her name, but i feel she is among the workers in the store and talk to her about everything. What you are talking about, can be used to every nordic countries. Like, i would guess that we can even referring to the Prime Ministers of our countries as their first name and it would still be acceptable.

  8. Kiitos paljon Aleksi! I was in Finland last week which was like dream for me. I hope I will be able to visit Finland again! Greetings from Turkey! 🙂

  9. Hmm.. Interesting.. This kinda explains why I get frustrated when people don’t arrive when promised and when they linger on, Not getting to the point.
    Thank you! It’s nice to know that I am not alone in my line of thinking.

    Ps: Tony’s chocolonely is also fantastic!

  10. Is it true that Finns don't care about other people's problems? A former Finnish friend ignored me when I told her my grandma died. She said it was her culture to not really care. True?

  11. I wish I found your channel before my trip to Finland a few years ago. It was an awesome trip and can't wait to go back. I think I will wait for Juhannus !

  12. First vs. last name is a bit regional. Still it's casual. Just wanted to mention that in some areas last name is what you will be known by more likely than first name

  13. Thanks man! Your videos are very useful. Soon I will move to Helsinki from Argentina to work in a space company and it gives me a very good point of view.
    Can I ask you if it is possible to find Manga in Finnish to use it as a language learning resource? I currently use that resource to learn and practice Japanese.

  14. Hey Aleksi with your authentic videos! I have watched all your videos in like a week. Really great and helpful information. I wanted to ask how easy is to find a place to live in there. I have asked my company to move there from Greece to Finland. I really like Finland, the educations system, beautiful places, and the people look unique. You think its possible to find easy a place to rent in long term? Or what should I do when the company decides to accept me in Finland, I have no idea what I should do for a start. Do I need a car to go to work in the first months, its easy for the public transportations? Thank you for your great content, keep up the good work!

  15. Hai aleksi.
    My name andy from indonesia.
    I really wanna work in finland.
    Thks a lot for your advices.
    But i got bad for english and still learning english to be expert like you.

    Would you give me what job site in finland please 😁. Cos i only knew mol.fi

    Oh forget..
    I am carpenter😀.

    Thks a lot aleksi..

  16. I believe Finns Always Finnish what they start. They honor  p people who always keep ALL their commitments and complete them in full well.

  17. Very interesting. I have a question, It's possible work in Finland only speaking English or you need to know some Finnish words?

  18. Hey man great video! I have a question. I just found a job in Helsinki. Is it weird or awkward if I bring some sweets or pastries from my original country's to my colleagues for the first day?

  19. Hi Aleksi, I am going to Lapplan at the end of this year to do a voluntary service and I was wondering if you ever think in doing some video about how to travel around Finland, how to pay, etc. I had to admit that I am scare of get lost in Finland and I am asking to every finnish friend that I have tips about it
    Pd: I love your sense of humour 😆

  20. There is one problem at some work places in Finland which is never talked about by anyone.When a foreigner / a foreign origin person starts working for a company , some employees turn out to be against that and they are unhappy about it which lead them to give no peace at work to that foreign employee.They start harassing that person, acting as if he/she is not there .It even hurts them to see that a foreigner is getting "salary" in Finland.The managers are not even aware of it as it is hidden racism.So , finding a job and starting to work does not particularly sort out any problem related to employment and getting salary. Finns do not leave foreigners alone at work.I guess to keep the work peace in tact, the employers also avoid employing foreigners.There is a kind of homogeneous,united way of thinking and behaving which is also deterring foreigners from finding employment in Finnish companies,because they know that they will be forced to conform to certain behavior pattern and they will not be able to be themselves.

  21. I loved to work with the Fins. Hanging out with them was pretty cool too. They are reasonable, funny and chilled.
    Indians will say they will do, but then, they won't or they will try you to do their job. Always willing to escalate to your manager.
    Dutch always see themselves as experts and aspire for managerial roles in whatever they do (but often they have no idea what they do).
    Polish are quite serious about their job and compete with each other so there is no much fun at work.
    With Norwegians, you won't be seeing any progress of their work for months and then out of a sudden, they will deliver everything on time.
    Russians will deliver what they want.

  22. The work/business culture sounds great-I could see myself work there. I like how in meeting people go straight to the core point-that is my kind of approach to meetings. I also like the balance between work and real life and most of all I like that bosses let their employees get on with the work rather then hovering over them-the trust component is very ideal and appealing. Great video-Thank you. 🙂

  23. I have been in Finland since 2017, you all said what I wanted to say about Finns. Nice video and is factual. Thank you.

  24. I like the fact that they use only first names, no titles nor last names, for example in the US the people say, "I am doctor Greene" an this is something I hate, is like the people brag of Themeselves, I am from latin america, and, at least here in Ecuador, the people don't really use titles or last names to introduce themselves, although they can be called for their titles and no name by the people who doesn't know them very well.
    I like the informality with other people, because we are… After all… Humans

  25. I walked in Finland in 1975 The Finnish people are idiots they can go and work in Sweden a million of them and half a million in Australia half a million in Canada but if somebody come to work in their country they want to eat him alive f*** them

  26. Depend on work but for example if you are a cleaner (which many foreigner unfortunately has worked as… at least at some point, because it's almost the only job that doesn't require Finnish language skills) … anyway as a cleaner you most likely are working alone or with couple of others and you hardly never see you boss or supervisor. Maybe once a month the boss can visit your working place to meet the client and you can speak to him/her as person. You always keep in touch with supervisors with emails or texts. If you don't tell them that something is missing/run out or you have some problems, they assume that everything is ok.

  27. I am British and also hate people being late for anything! However I am also part-Italian and I feel that the Finnish people would find me a bit enthusiastic! But generally I would really love to visit Finland.

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