What is the Finnish working culture like?
Finnish work mentality can be described in three words: honesty, punctuality and equality.
Finns are often characterised 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.
On the other hand many workplaces offer flexible working hours, so the workers have more possibilities to plan for their free time. Quite often workers start their day between 7-9 and then depending on the arrival time finish by 15-17. The important thing is to pay attention to your set working hours, and to complete all hours you are due. In general Finns do not work a lot of overtime nor stay extra at their workplaces. These situations of course vary from situation to another. Overtime procedures are best to be discussed with your supervisors.
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. To read more about equality in Finnish workplaces click here to redirect to Infopankki. To read more about the Finnish society, click here to redirect to the Finnish Society article.
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. Redirect yourself to Infopankki to 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.
A well known Finnish proverb ironically states, that “the Nordic summer is short, and less snowy than usual”. 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.
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.
Work-life balance in Tampere and Finland
As the second largest city district in Finland, and as the largest inland city in the Nordics, Tampere’s housing prices are on the rise. Renting an apartment in the city centre is becoming costly, but more affordable and more spacious housing is built in all directions. The neighboring municipal centres are only 15-30 minutes away from central Tampere, so you will not be needing much time to commute. It is also good to bear in mind that it may also be easier to find daycare services in the neighboring municipalities. Read more about daycare possibilities in Tampere and in Finland by clicking here.
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. Each employee receives health coverage in order to stay healthy and motivated, and in order to make the most out of their days off. 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.