Working in Denmark

The main reason for our move to Denmark was that I got a job at Danfoss. However, although I had read and heard quite a bit about working culture in Denmark, I hadn’t experienced it myself as yet first hand. So how different is working in the UK, or Malta, to working in Denmark? Here are a couple of impressions I have had so far:

Danfoss entrance

First Day at Work

It was immediately clear to me that the company was ready for my arrival. I had a computer, a phone, a mobile phone and a desk with storage space already set up. An introduction plan had also been prepared for my first weeks with timeslots already planned for meetings with individual colleagues to introduce me to their work. I was also assigned a buddy for practical help and a mentor for technical help, besides the colleague I will work most closely with. I was also greeted with flowers from my manager!

My colleagues were also eager and ready to meet me; a message had been circulated about my joining and with some brief details about me as soon as I signed the contract around a month earlier. This is unlike my experience in the UK where we often only learnt about a new person joining when they turned up on their first day.

Work Day

The work day proceeds quite differently to what I am used to too. In London I worked a 9-5 day, which meant that I was often one of the first (if not the first) to arrive in the office and also to leave. In Denmark? I aim for 8:30-4:30, and am one of the last to arrive and last to leave!

There is also one other big difference in working culture. In the UK (and Malta, though to a lesser extent) I often felt that presenteeism (the tendency to stay at work beyond the time needed for effective performance on the job) was pervasive. Here, employees come to work, do their work, and then leave, giving them the necessary time for a fulfilling personal life. This probably explains why I have not heard anyone grumble or complain in the few days I have been there!

I think this is possible as employees are trusted to see that their work is done. This also means that I have seen much less time-wasting here (if at all!). At the same time activities that bring employees together, such as a Friday roll club (where bread rolls and toppings and brought by a different person each week), or a joint Advent calendar (where everyone gives 2 gifts to the pile and every day in advent someone gets to choose a gift), are accepted with a smile.

Overall Impression

My first impressions of working in Denmark are positive: welcoming colleagues with a successful work-life balance. Of course, I have not had extensive experience of working in either the UK, and more so Denmark, but I look forward to learning more about the Danish working culture over the coming weeks, months and years.


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