Sweden work culture: free to go or return

Let’s admit it! Work can be a hassle!

Work can be fun and creative. And a passion. More so if you work in your own business or you are a new-age freelancer (sorry solopreneur)! But it can also be stressful. Period. If one could condense anything negative, related to any kind of work in one word, it would be stressful.

Stress can come from within us or from the environment we work in. Low income, long hours, unrealistic expectations, stretch because of personal or family matters, little room for creativity. These things come up at work more often than thought.

But hey! They say working in the Nordics is a splendour! Well, repeat after us: no place on Earth is a paradise. But what they have achieved in the Nordics is that they have almost eliminated all the factors that make work stressful or miserable. So, the happiness levels at work in countries like Sweden or Denmark are really high.

Speaking of Sweden, although it does not rank as the very best place to work (Denmark might clinch the golden medal), it is still one of the best in the world. World-class!

Read on to find out the 5 best perks you enjoy when working in Sweden but also how different the work culture is!

5 stars

That’s the rating an employee in Sweden would give to the work rights there. 5 out of 5 we would dare say! Check them out:

– holidays forever! By law, you can get a minimum of 5 weeks of annual leave. Sometimes employers give even more than that. And you are entitled to take 4 consecutive weeks of holidays in the summer! Yes, it’s true! You can turn off the emails and phone and get lost in your summer paradise!

– paid holidays + bonus! Not only do you get paid during your holidays but you also get an extra holidays bonus in your bank account. This extra wage supplement is always welcome and appreciated. You know, for the extra summer treats you want to indulge into.

– healthcare contribution. OK, you get it with the holidays thing. But what about when you are at work? The employers give extra benefits in the form of vouchers you can use to go to the gym, practice sports or do any other health-related activities. It’s up to you what you will do with your voucher but you need to take care of your body!

– kids first! 480 days is the parental leave for every child. Paid. For both parents. Yes, fathers can take time off work to look after their infants, too. The couple can decide how to split these 480 days. Plus, you can get extra days off when your kid is sick at home and you need to be there (paid too, by 80%).

– let’s go sabbatical! Fancy studying or working on your own project, even your new business? That’s OK! You can take 6 months off your work and your employer has to keep the position reserved for when you finish your sabbatical. And it really doesn’t matter what field you will study or what market your new business will operate in. Hats off!

But how can you get a job in Sweden? Well, their work culture is different from the rest of the world so you need to adapt. Read how!

Hej, Anna!

This is the usual way to greet your recruiter either in an email or in person, even if you don’t know her or she is much older than you. The Swedish work culture is informal and personal.

Being very formal is a no-no. You make it difficult for them to engage with you. This also applies to the dress code. Not too formal nor too casual, you must take a lagom approach.

The personal work culture in Sweden also makes it harder for you to find a job if you have no network. So, go and subscribe to clubs, associations or other memberships around hobbies or interests.

You go meet new people and expand your network. It is very likely that one of all those people you are acquainted with will recommend you to a job at some point. It’s all about trust. As is when you put your headshot on your resume. A photo is a big plus!

Oh! Let’s not forget the language issue. You can find a job without speaking Swedish but um, if you speak some Swedish or you show you are learning or are eager to learn increases your chances of finally saying “It’s a deal!”.

Image: Simon Paulin/imagebank.sweden.se