For many years, Finland has been a leader in the implementation of more flexible working hours. A recent survey has revealed that almost all Finnish organisations are amenable to negotiating work hours with their employees. The laws governing work schedules have recently been altered to provide employees with greater latitude in terms of when and where they can carry out their duties. In the coming months, the nation is likely to become even more accommodating of remote working arrangements.
An excerpt from the new law that will take effect on January 1, 2023, is as follows:
The implementation of a new adaptable scheduling feature has been announced, allowing employees to take advantage of flexible working patterns, so long as at least 50% of the job role is performed away from the office. The agreement outlines the total number of hours of work required each week, but the employee has the freedom to decide when these are worked, so long as their line manager is kept informed. The European Commission’s March 2023 Flash Report on Labor Law will provide further details.
Having conducted a comprehensive analysis of several e-commerce enterprises to assess the degree of innovation they have embraced, and to seek to identify any applicable lessons, we have not previously attempted to replicate their success on a national scale.
Join us to learn how the Finnish model of remote work might benefit your company.
An assessment of the educational and occupational landscape in Finland, with emphasis on its relevance to telecommuting
Finland is ranked fourteenth on the US News list of the best countries in the world. It has consistently held a place at the top of the list for a considerable period of time, with impressive scores in areas such as prosperity, quality of life, business transparency, and education.
Education: The country is renowned for its highly educated population, with a score of 9.1 out of 10 on the triennial Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) placing it amongst the best nations in the world in this regard.
This article argues that the high level of success attained by the Finnish education system can be attributed to the fact that all members of the educational community are committed to its success, students are encouraged to learn through a variety of play-based activities, and attendance at school is both mandated by law and generously supported financially.
Work: In Finland, approximately two-thirds of the working-age population is employed. In terms of job opportunities, teaching, accounting, and computer and web development are three of the most viable options. Finland has seen considerable growth, being firmly established as a major hub for technological innovation in recent times.
Here is how Finland does in the workplace according to the US News Best Countries list:
- Professional staff 7.0/10
- Competently open and honest dealings 8.8/10
- Rating: 0.3/10 Bureaucracy
- 9.1 out of 10 for open government procedures
- Gender parity in pay 9.6/10
The aforementioned rankings demonstrate both the suitability of Finland for remote work and the widespread acceptance of it in the country.
A cultural analysis of remote work’s deep roots in Finland
At Works, we strongly believe that having the right attitude and aptitude is equally as important as having the right technology when working remotely. For this reason, we take great care to ensure that only the most suitable and qualified candidates are hired.
Surprisingly, many of the traits and practices that facilitate remote work are deeply ingrained in the Finnish workplace culture.
Maddy Savage utilised Miika Härkönen, an Information Technology professional, as an example in her BBC article. Miika suggested to his manager that he could work remotely from Malaga, Spain, during the dark and gloomy Nordic winter.
Miika detailed his responsibilities, which included overseeing a staff of twenty, and how he intended to fulfil them whilst he was away on vacation with his wife and new baby in a warmer climate. Miika stated that the approach they proposed to his employer was successful and that his boss gave their approval.
Miika’s employer, Ambientia, has an HR Manager by the name of Jenni Fredriksson-Bass, who recently commented that remote recruitment is “essential in the competition for talent”. This sentiment reflects the importance of leveraging new technologies and digital communication channels to access the best and brightest candidates, in order to remain competitive in an increasingly globalized labor market.
The effectiveness of Miika’s strategy as demonstrated in the case study was truly remarkable. When he provided a comprehensive breakdown of the duties he proposed, his manager gave their approval without hesitation. In other words, the transition will be seamless.
If one of your workers approached you with the same request, how would you respond? Would you be just as happy to accept?
If your work culture is similar to that of the Finns, you would.
Our research has uncovered the following features of the Finnish work culture that make the country a global leader in the adoption of remote work:
- It’s important to operate independently Management rarely provides excessive instruction and guidance. To achieve a goal, the members of a team must create a plan of action and then implement it. Collaboration is encouraged, with individuals exchanging knowledge and offering help to each other. Nonetheless, everybody is expected to take personal accountability for their own assignments.
- Every person should have the same chances in life. It has been estimated that there is a near-equal ratio of male to female employees across the nation. Jenni Fredriksson-Bass, a Human Resources Manager, emphasised the importance of utilising the talent available, even if it is located a distance away, as she said, “It would be a waste to ignore the potential of those who are five hours away…”.
- Value of Schedules – Managers put their trust in their staff to get the job done by the deadlines set by their teams.
- Structured without a chain of command In Finland, cooperation is valued more highly than hierarchy. Every person is valued and appreciated.
- Simple and straightforward language The Finns have a strong cultural norm that everyone should feel safe expressing their views openly.
- Balance between work and personal life is essential for productivity. The notion of achieving a healthy work-life balance appears to be well-entrenched in this country. There is a relatively low incidence of employees working more than 40 hours per week. Furthermore, many office workers still take a one-hour break for lunch. According to Pauliina Alanen, communications manager at an AI company, it is usual for people to take an extended break in July to unwind at their second homes.
- Change and innovation – A key feature of the Finnish work style is its emphasis on flexibility and the collective intelligence of its employees.
It is unsurprising that Finland is the final developed nation to adopt the practice of remote working, given the information contained in our manual regarding this subject.
It is essential for the success of any relationship to have solidarity and trust between the two parties. As Maddy Savage rightly highlighted, a Eurobarometer survey revealed that Finns are the most reliable people in Europe. This is a testament to the value they place on faith and loyalty in their relationships.
Maria Bäck, a political scientist, has speculated that the reason for the high levels of trust in the Nordic region could be attributed to the Nordic welfare model, which is focused on equality and universal access to basic services. This contributes to a culture of trust, resulting in a lack of ‘us’ and ‘them’ mentality.
Can the remote work culture that Finland has established be adopted by other nations and businesses?
The 1996 amendment to the Finnish Working Hours Act has resulted in a noticeable shift in attitudes towards flexible work schedules in Finland. The policy, which came into effect in 1996, allows workers to take up to three hours away from work each week. This has meant that employers and employees alike have become more amenable to the idea of flexible working arrangements.
Even though the Finns are in the lead, they are only average.
Australian workers now have a legal right to request more flexible working arrangements from their employers, following a recent ruling from the Fair Work Commission (FWC). Additionally, in the United Kingdom, only 6% of the workforce is employed on a traditional Monday-to-Friday basis.
The trend toward remote employment is very much on the rise.
For the UK to benefit from the full potential of digital transformation, it is essential that all stakeholders, from companies to workers to policymakers, appreciate the potential benefits and how they can all achieve a successful outcome. All measures and strategies must be developed with a unified approach, in order for the nation to reap the full rewards of digital transformation.
In Finland, the growth of co-working spaces has been a direct result of the increasing number of people undertaking remote and flexible employment. This has enabled those who reside in more rural areas to be part of the labor force without needing to travel long distances. Moreover, the government has put its backing behind remote employment, and has made it legally binding.
The United States is also a pioneer in the trend toward remote work. Time has come for you to join them. Give us a call and we’ll see if we can help.