Living in Finland


Suomalainen työkulttuuri
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Finnish working culture

Equality and equal opportunities in working life

At Finnish workplaces, all people are equal.

Equality in Finnish working life shows, for example, in the way everyone calls each other by their first name, regardless of their position. Employers ask for their employees’ opinions and these are taken into account in job planning.

Read more on the Infopankki web page Equality and equal opportunities in working life.

Initiative and responsibility

At Finnish workplaces, supervisors do not monitor their employees’ work continually. Work is usually arranged and agreed on at common meetings and jointly agreed matters are adhered to. A supervisor gives an employee their tasks and expects the employee to decide on the details of the work independently. If an employee does not know how to perform the given task or cannot do it, they ask their co-workers or the supervisor directly for instructions.

Reliability and observing timetables

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.

Observing timetables is also important in Finland. You must arrive at work promptly at the agreed-upon time. When the agreement is 8:00, this means exactly 8:00, not 8:10. Being late is impolite because other people have to wait for the one who is late. If you know that you will be late for work, tell your supervisor about it.

Many workplaces have adopted flexible working hours which means that you can come to work, for example, between 7 and 9 and leave between 15 and 17. If a workplace uses flexible working hours, employees themselves have to make sure that they work for the length of time that has been agreed upon.

Style of communication

Finns usually speak out, and speaking out is not considered impolite in Finland. Saying what you mean is also normal in working life. For example, if you do not have enough time to complete a task, it is best to say so to your supervisor. At meetings, the usual procedure is to get straight to the point after greeting everybody. A supervisor may not ask how their employees are doing. Instead, they assume that employees will tell them if something is wrong.

The effect of religion on working life

Finland’s largest religion is Evangelical-Lutheran Christianity. Finns are generally not very religious. However, many Christian customs are still observed in Finnish culture. In working life, the effect of religion can be seen in many of the holidays. Christian religious holidays, such as Christmas and Easter, are statutory holidays.

Religious customs or rituals do not belong at a Finnish workplace. Some places of work have arranged a place for praying, if employees have asked for one. However, most workplaces do not provide for such practices. If an employee wants to take a moment, for example, for prayer in the middle of a working day, this must take place in connection with the agreed-upon breaks. Signs of religions in outward appearance, such as head scarves, are permitted in Finland, but operative rules on working clothes have to be observed. This is due to task-related work safety and hygiene decrees.

Employee's orientation into Finnish working lifeFinnish

Finnish working culture
  • Everyday life at the workplace