Work life balance is an important topic in Finland. Indeed Finland is offering high standards when it comes to work or daily life. Both men and women have a high participation rate in working life. Finland also has the most employee friendly working hours (European Company Survey).
General information about Finnish working culture on Infopankki.
What is the Finnish working culture like?
Finnish work mentality can be described in three words: honesty, punctuality and equality.
Finns are often characterized as quiet and reserved, but also rather blunt. Just watch any F1 driver Kimi Räikkönen’s interview, and you will catch our point. Finnish people are known to speak their minds quite openly, even to their supervisors and managers. It is usual that official meetings get straight to the point, and excessive courtesy can even be regarded as withholding information from the receiving party.
In Finnish working culture, it is important to adhere to the things that have been agreed upon. When something has been decided together, the employees and employer assume that everyone will do what has been decided. Generally it is okay to later ask help from your colleagues and your supervisors, but Finns see that it’s better to reach out to someone than to fail alone.
Finns are also very punctual, and being even a little bit late is considered impolite. If a meeting starts at 10:00, the meeting will start at 10:00 sharp. Arriving even a few minutes late without informing your colleagues or your supervisor about your delay is generally not accepted.
According to Finnish law discrimination at workplaces is prohibited. Employers must ensure that all workers receive equal treatment and that equal opportunities are offered to men and women alike. Gender equality is strongly emphasized in working life and is underpinned by legislation.
In order to stay punctual and hard working, employers have a duty to pay for preventive health care for their employees. In Finland every worker has a right to occupational health care. Learn more about occupational health by clicking here.
Finns and holidays — the national shutdown in July
Although considered to be hardworking and diligent workers, Finnish people also value their free time very much.
The summer season equals to June, July and August. Many workers have and are also expected to have their holidays during this time. When on holidays, Finns usually disconnect themselves from work and may be difficult to reach. Therefore it may be hard and inconvenient to try to conduct business or to try to set meetings between June’s Midsummer holiday and the first weeks of August.
Each worker receives a number of paid holidays annually. The number of holidays an employee is entitled to depends on the number of years the employee has worked and when the contract of employment has started. Longer years equal to longer holidays. In addition to paid holidays, you can apply for unpaid leave. In Finland, holidays are long compared to many other countries. In addition to this, an employee is paid holiday pay. The payment of holiday pay is based on the collective agreement. To get an exact understanding of the contents of a contract of employment, click here to redirect yourself to the Infopankki website.
Finnish weekly working hours are the same as the Europealn Union Average. About 50 % of employees work a normal working week (35-40 hours).
A regular workday of 7,5-8 hours usually includes 2-3 breaks. Generally there is one quick break in the morning, followed by a lunch break of 30-40 minutes. In some cases there may also be a second coffee break in the afternoon. The rule of thumb is that longer hours equal to more breaks. Contracts of employment often contain information on the times and duration of daily breaks. A week consists of five working days, and two days off. Saturday, Sunday or holiday work will be compensated with days off or a set monetary compensation depending on the collective agreement.
Options for paid family leave are numerous and family life is highly valued in Finland, although the concept of family is becoming increasingly elastic.
In general Finnish workplaces are very flexible and most situations can be negotiated upon. Work is important for Finnish people, and hard work is respected, but family comes first. Many workplaces offer ever increasing remote work opportunities.
Individual free time is respected in order for everyone to spend time with their loved ones and family. Workdays may also be synchronized with your family’s timetable.
In Finland you do not have to make a choice between a career and a family — you are entitled to both.