Culture Flip: A Swedish Perspective

Amy Lister February 24, 2016

Business Building, Leadership Insights

White conceptual keyboard - Sweden (key with flag)

My career started like many others I know – in a rush. I began my first full-time job while still in the final exam period of my fourth year at University. I didn’t breathe between earning my degree and receiving my first pay cheque as a professional.

I kept the blinders on as I moved, elbowed, and clawed my way through the rat race. Until my spouse came home from work with a job offer to move to Stockholm, Sweden. That was a curveball I wasn’t anticipating.

As I arrived in Stockholm I experienced a flip in my professional perspective. I was exposed to:

  • A work-to-live mentality
  • A culture that invests in their people – ergonomic desks, great workspaces, flexible hours, and a never emptying bowl of fruit in each common area
  • Fika Fridays – a gathering of employees where coffee and cake is served, plus some time for social conversation on the clock
  • A place where parental leave is encouraged for all
  • A culture where the focus is on results –  not the number of hours a person’s clocked

All this was occurring throughout highly successful and profitable businesses. Hmmm… that got me thinking, “Have we got the best formula for productivity and success in North America?”

What I know is that research shows us that productivity and profits soar when employees are given flexible work hours, time for naps in the afternoon, a comfortable workspace, etc.

What would happen if we flipped our professional perspective by exploring successful businesses in other cultures? How would it impact our teams and bottom lines?

Amy Lister

As a seasoned coach and facilitator, Amy is known as a trusted creative thinking partner for leaders, teams and organizations and facilitates each client becoming the best they can be, one conversation and one relationship at a time.