COMING TO FINLAND
What you should know about
the Finnish way of life
Finnish working life and education
before coming to Finland.
Why work in Finland?
Finland is the happiest country in the world ( UN World Happiness Report 2019).
Most employee friendly working hours Company Survey): the 8-hour (in general) workday and flexible working hours leave plenty of time for family, friends and hobbies.
Greenest country in the world (Yale University).
Finland is the third most gender-equal country in the world ( Global Gender Gap, 2020) and was the first country to grant full political rights to women in 1906.
Paid maternity and paternity leave.
Finns trust the system and each other.
Tips for working life
If you want to communicate something, be direct and honest. Finns usually speak out and speaking out is not considered impolite in Finland. Saying what you mean is also normal in working life.
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.
You must arrive at work promptly at the agreed-upon time. 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.
In Finnish working culture, the form of address is very informal. Usually employees address each other using first names regardless of their position.
Equality: women and men are equal at home and at work
Fairness and trust
Individualism and respect of own space
Honesty and punctuality
Handshaking is a common way of greeting in formal situations. Friends or relatives may greet each other by hugging. Cheek kissing is not common. The direct eye contact is important when you talk to others.
Discussion and interaction
Finns like to start a conversation by going straight to the point. People are expected to truly mean what they say. They believe what you say and expect you to act accordingly. There may be a certain amount of quiet moments in conversations with Finns. Silence is not a negative thing, it feels natural to Finns. It is considered rude to interrupt people when they are speaking. It is uncommon to show your emotions in public.
It is best not to discuss religion, politics, salaries, health issues or love life, particularly at the beginning of a relationship. Finns are usually reserved to start with and you should respect their need for privacy.
Sauna is an important part of the Finnish culture. Many Finns go to sauna every week. Women and men go to sauna at separate times. It is common to go to sauna without any clothes.
As a guest at a Finnish home
You should always agree upon visits to other people’s homes in advance. Finns value their privacy and peace. Finns do not use shoes indoors. It is polite to take off your shoes when entering someone else’s home.
Nature is a very strong element of the Finnish life. Finns highly respect their environment, and they spend a lot of time in the forest. Starting at kindergarten, children start going for walks in the forest to get familiar with the different animals and plants. At the same time they are being taught to respect nature and animal life.
Many Finns enjoy spending time in nature by hiking, camping, picking berries or mushrooms, fishing or hunting. Finland is the most forested country in Europe. More than 80% of Finnish people say the forest is important to them. According to Everyman’s Rights, people can move freely in nature in Finland, hike, camp, gather mushrooms and berries in all forests – regardless of who owns them.