Last of the Swedish office facts Posted by Katja on May 21, 2010 in Culture
To finish off the blog posts that have kind of turned into office facts I am going to write about the different events during the time you work.
I feel that starting with what is expected of a newcomer at his or her workplace would give us a chronological order, ending with retirement (pension).
#1. In Sweden unlike many other countries it’s the newcomers’ responsibly to introduce themselves to the rest of the staff/people (personal) at their new workplace (arbetsplats). Instead of a senior taking it upon themselves to show the new person around, introducing them to all the customs it is all up to you to get to know everybody, where everything is and how to do everything.
#2. At a Swedish workplace everything should be democratic. Everything is taken up with everybody, meaning that making a decision is very long process, because if it has to go through everybody working at a work place and everybody has an opinion, sox the natural thing would be that it takes time to please everyone. This is to make everybody feel good, even though a decision might already be made and the whole democratic thing is superficial it still works. Since decisions can take months for anything from a new coffee type in the cafeteria to a reform in the workplace people from other countries working with Swedish companies can get very frustrated at the slow pace.
#3. Swedish organizations are flat, ie. relatively without a hierarchy. Eg. a purchaser is in a meeting and can purchase something without consulting his or her boss. People have more leniency whatever their position.
#4. Swedes do not use Mr or Mrs. Everybody is called by their first name, even the big boss, Swedes find it very hard to use Mr or Mrs, they feel that it is too formal. That way of addressing people it got left behind in the 60s.
#5. When you have worked for 25 years at one company you get a gold watch or a travel agency coupon to be able to travel.
#6. Whenever you leave the company or retire you are expected to bring cake to the workplace to eat with your colleagues . ie. your colleagues do not take you out to celebrate.