A Year of Working in Denmark

Working in a new country will undoubtedly raise questions about the working style to be encountered. Every company has its own working culture, which is also affected by the cultural expectations of the employees. Before I started working in Denmark I had a number of doubts about what I would find.

These are the points I would have highlighted to myself one year ago, based on my experience of different management styles I have encountered:

  • Expect to be trusted to do you work without being checked. Conversely, be careful how you ask questions to others. They might see it as criticism rather than an attempt at understanding (or knowing that 2 heads are better than one).
  • Expect to receive emails starting ‘Hi’, or even ‘Hello’. Formality is considered redundant.
  • Oh – and don’t expect to receive a reply saying thanks for a report or even confirming that they have received it! no contact = no issues (normally).
  • Expect to be taken seriously, regardless of age or gender. Equality (at least in this sense) really permeates the working life more than I had ever imagined it could.
  • Enjoy a flexible working situation and a good work-life balance. Arrive early and leave early. That said, you can do whatever you want, as long as the work gets done.
  • Forget about management styles you are used to. Decisions making is much more consensual. Great if you are the worker, not so great if you are in need of a decision!
  • Your colleagues are not your friends. Friendly enough at work, but don’t expect this to extend to life outside. Make friends elsewhere.
  • Phone usage? Forget most previous experience. Answering your phone during meetings is fine. But do walk out of the room if possible.

What about you? What would you add to this list?

5 thoughts on “A Year of Working in Denmark

  1. Ross O' Dwyer

    “Your colleagues are not your friends. Friendly enough at work, but don’t expect this to extend to life outside. Make friends elsewhere”.

    Hey so Declan doesn’t agree wioth this statement. Is this just what happens in Danfoss or is it a Danish thing?

    1. Ann Post author

      This seems to be a typical Danish thing. That at work you have colleagues and outside you have friends. From what I have heard it is absolutely not a Danfoss thing. This doesn’t mean that people are not friendly. Not at all! But typically they are not the people you go for a drink on a Saturday evening with or similar.

  2. this indonesian

    Work colleague? Definitely Danish thing.

    I miss the time when I was still working in Indonesia where we usually decided to go out and grab something to eat after deadline.

    I’d say your list is pretty good.

    1. Michael

      You can look on SydJob and JobNet, keep an eye on the local free newspapers – these are all catering to a Danish speaking audience. I spotted my job on sydjob.

      Ann found her job (from abroad) looking at Work In Denmark.

      I don’t have much other advice at the moment. Hope this can get you started on your search.


Leave a Reply