5 Ways to be More Swedish at Work

I’m not entirely sure why you would but fancy being more Swedish? The Scandinavian lifestyle appears to be desirable at the moment. People are practicing Hygge all over the place, inhaling cinnamon buns and consuming open top sandwiches like there’s no tomorrow. It’s 6 June today and Sweden day is once again upon us to be celebrated. Last year, we gave our readers some great tips about how to be more Swedish in general. We included staples like how shamelessly seriously you need to take Eurovision song contest. The must have gladiator strength coffee we drink several times a day. The tips were so great, there’s no need for any more. That’s why this year, we thought we’d focus on how to be a bit more Swedish in the office. You’re welcome!

Have regular fika

Everything can be solved by this and the world would not be at war if people just had more of it. As I love both insanely strong coffee and cinnamon buns, this is one of my favourite things about working in Sweden. Fika is a collective description of a cup of coffee (if you drink tea, you’re dead to us) and something sweet to have with it. Only if you want to be excluded from the group or it is indeed your breakfast fika, you have it with a fralla (bread roll). Get it? Already having breakfast fikat, we then do it once before lunch around 10am and once after lunch around 3pm. And in every meeting if the opportunity is given.

Go for lunch early

It’s time for a late lunch

As a swede working in London I get looked at funnily when I start talking about lunch at 10.30am. From what I remember, Swedes tend eat early as we prefer to start working early. For those of us who used to be on flex time, it’s totally worth it getting up insanely early to come in at 8 and leaving at 4. This way, you can them make the most of your afternoon. This means you’re absolutely hank marvin at 11 and it’s even a push waiting for 12 despite the 10am fika.

Refer to weeks as numbers

This was on my list last year as this is something everyone seems to do in Sweden. It has confused the living hell out of me on numerous occasions as it’s been a long time since I lived in Sweden. Most of us know today’s date but we have no clue what week it is. In Sweden it’s the opposite. Book a meeting with a Swedish company and ask for availability. You will be expecting a date but instead, they respond with something like “Why don’t we meet during week 19?” All I can say is thank god for http://whatweekisit.org/

Dress casually

Swedes are quite casual. A massive generalisation of course but at a conference or meeting you can easily “spot the Swede”. He or she will be the one wearing jeans and a t-shirt in a room full of suits. Correct or not, this is something I absolutely love about my fellow Swedes. I find it both endearing and brave at the same time.

No need to be so private

Mobile numbers are given out to anyone. Swedes don’t particularly like hierarchy, as such, the senior members of the teams are very approachable. If you call a switchboard in the UK and ask for the direct line, e-mail address or god forbid, mobile number of the CEO and you’re met with a firm and sometimes a little angry NO! Try calling a Swedish switchboard and ask to be put through you get a completely different response. For example, “The CEO is in a meeting at the moment, here’s her mobile number. Try texting her and she’ll call you back once she’s out of her meeting.” Astonishing!

God speed in your Swedificasion. May your cinnamon buns be freshly baked, your year divided into week numbers and I pray the CEO will call you back.