How You Can Learn from Finland’s Remote Work Culture

Finland has been a pioneer in embracing flexible working hours for quite some time. According to a recent survey, nearly all Finnish organizations are open to discussing work schedules with their staff. The regulations governing work hours have undergone revisions to afford employees greater flexibility in determining where and when they want to fulfil their work commitments. It is anticipated that in the next few months, the country will become even more supportive of remote working options.

Here is a snippet from the upcoming legislation set to be enforced from January 1, 2023:

A new feature of flexible scheduling has been revealed, enabling workers to benefit from adaptable work patterns if at least half of the job is performed outside the office. The agreement stipulates the total working hours required each week, but the employees are at liberty to determine when they will work, provided they keep their supervisor informed. The Flash Report on Labor Law published by the European Commission in March 2023 will furnish additional information on this matter.

Although we have conducted a thorough evaluation of multiple e-commerce businesses to gauge their level of innovation and learn applicable lessons, we have not previously endeavoured to emulate their triumph on a national level.

Participate in our discussion to discover the advantages that the Finnish remote work model could bring to your enterprise.

An examination of Finland’s educational and professional climate, particularly its pertinence to remote work

On the US News’ rundown of the top countries in the world, Finland takes the fourteenth spot. For a significant stretch of time, it has maintained its position at the top of the rankings, achieving impressive scores in categories such as prosperity, quality of life, business transparency, and education.

Education: Finland is celebrated for its well-educated populace, with a rating of 9.1 out of 10 in the triennial Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), placing it among the best countries in the world in this area.

According to this article, the Finnish education system has achieved great success because of the collective effort of all members involved in the educational community, the utilization of learning methods that are incorporated into play-based activities, and the fact that school attendance is both a legal requirement and receives substantial financial backing.

Work: Roughly two-thirds of Finland’s working-age population is employed. Teaching, accounting, and computer and web development are among the most lucrative job openings. Finland has registered significant progress, securing its position as a significant hub for technological advancements in recent years.

The following are the scores for Finland in the workplace as per the Best Countries list by US News:

  • Professional workforce scores 7.0 out of 10
  • The ability to conduct transparent and honest business dealings scores 8.8 out of 10
  • Bureaucracy receives a score of just 0.3 out of 10
  • Open government procedures score an impressive 9.1 out of 10
  • The country scores a remarkable 9.6 out of 10 for gender pay equality

The above rankings highlight how Finland is well-equipped for remote work and how remote work is widely embraced in the country.

Exploring the cultural roots of remote work in Finland

At Works, we firmly believe that in order to work remotely, one must possess not only the right technology but also the right attitude and skills. For this reason, we are meticulous in our recruitment process, seeking only the most suitable and proficient candidates.

Interestingly, numerous practices and traits that support remote work have been long-established in the Finnish work culture.

The BBC article by Maddy Savage cites Miika Härkönen, an IT professional, as an example. Miika proposed to his manager that he could work from Malaga, Spain, during the dreary Nordic winters.

Miika explained his duties, which involved managing a team of twenty, and how he planned to fulfill them while holidaying with his wife and newborn in a warmer location. According to Miika, the proposal to his employer was a success, and his boss gave their approval.

Jenni Fredriksson-Bass is the HR Manager at Ambientia, Miika’s employer. She recently remarked that remote recruitment is “critical to attracting top talent,” underscoring the significance of utilizing digital communication channels and innovative technologies to tap into the most competent and skilled candidates, in order to stay competitive in a progressively globalized job market.

The case study exemplified the exceptional success of Miika’s approach. After presenting a detailed breakdown of his proposed duties, his manager promptly approved the proposal, indicating a smooth transition ahead.

If one of your employees made a similar request, how would you react? Would you be equally open to accommodating such requests?

If your work culture is comparable to that of the Finns, then you likely would.

Our study has revealed the following aspects of the Finnish work culture that position it as a world leader in embracing remote work:

  • Independence is valued

    Management typically gives minimal instruction or direction. The team members must devise and execute their own plans to accomplish objectives. While cooperation is promoted, with individuals sharing knowledge and lending assistance, each person is held accountable for their own tasks.
  • Equality of opportunity

    There is an almost equal proportion of male and female employees across the nation, indicating a commitment to equal opportunities. HR Manager Jenni Fredriksson-Bass has emphasized the importance of tapping into available talent from remote locations, stating, “It would be wasteful to overlook individuals who are five hours away…”.
  • Emphasis on Timelines –

    Managers have faith in their employees to complete assignments by the deadlines established by the team.
  • Structured without a Hierarchical Structure

    Cooperation is more important than a chain of command in Finland. Every individual is respected and recognised.
  • Clear and Direct Communication Style

    In Finland, there is a powerful cultural norm that encourages everyone to feel secure expressing their viewpoints without hesitation.
  • Productivity relies on a work-life balance.

    Achieving a healthy balance between work and personal life is deeply ingrained in Finnish culture. There is a relatively low percentage of individuals working over 40 hours per week, and many office employees still take a one-hour lunch break. According to AI company communication manager Pauliina Alanen, it is customary for individuals to take an extended July vacation to unwind at their secondary residences.
  • Adaptability and Innovation –

    The Finnish work style is notable for valuing versatility and the shared knowledge of its workforce.

Given the information presented in our report on this subject, it is hardly unexpected that Finland is the most recent developed country to embrace remote work.

Solidarity and trust between parties are crucial for any relationship to succeed. As Maddy Savage appropriately noted, a Eurobarometer study found that Finns are the most dependable individuals in Europe. This is an affirmation of their belief in trust and allegiance in their relationships.

Political scientist Maria Bäck has suggested that the Nordic Region’s high levels of trust may be attributed to the Nordic welfare system’s focus on equality and universal access to basic services. This fosters a culture of trust and reduces the ‘us’ versus ‘them’ mentality.

Is it possible for other nations and companies to adopt Finland’s established remote work culture?

The 1996 amendment to the Finnish Working Hours Act has significantly altered perceptions of flexible work schedules in Finland. Under the legislation, workers can take up to three hours of leave every week, resulting in increased acceptance of flexible working arrangements among employers and employees alike.

Despite their lead, the Finns are only performing at an average level.

The Fair Work Commission (FWC) recently granted Australian workers the legal right to request more adaptable working arrangements from their employers. Furthermore, only 6% of the workforce in the United Kingdom currently works on a traditional Monday-to-Friday schedule.

The trend towards remote work is increasingly popular.

In order for the UK to fully capitalize on the potential of digital transformation, it is necessary for all stakeholders – from businesses to workers to policymakers – to recognize the potential benefits and work together to achieve a favorable outcome. In order for the country to derive the full benefits of digital transformation, all policies and approaches must be developed with a shared vision.

In Finland, the expansion of co-working spaces is a direct consequence of the rising numbers of individuals who are working flexible hours and remotely. This has enabled individuals living in remote regions to participate in the workforce without having to travel long distances. Furthermore, the administration has officially recognized and supported remote work arrangements, enshrining them in law.

The United States is also at the forefront of the trend towards remote work. It may be time for you to consider following their example. Please contact us and we will explore how we can assist you.

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