Are you a new career woman in Denmark or have you already kickstarted your career in the danish workplace? Then you probably already know the significant differences between danish working culture and the one you are used to from your home country. If not, do not worry; we’ve got you covered!
Understanding and mastering the following qualities will not only strengthen the interaction with your danish colleagues and boss but also build respect and appreciation. It can be tricky at first, as many “rules” are unwritten, but there is no doubt that you can adjust yourself quickly and play by the rules from day one.
1. Danes value equality and openness
Do you hold a master´s degree or multiple titles around your name? Well, forget about these in your office. Titles are rarely used and everybody is treated with the same respect, regardless of their position. This is because Danes generally do not care about authority and won’t respect you more, just because of your rank. What really is valued in the danish workplace is proactivity and engagement. You are accepted and expected to speak up your opinion, especially if you express a well-researched point of view in a polite way.
Insider tip #1 “You are smart and talented, do not be afraid to ask questions and give input. You can earn the respect of everyone in your team.”
2. Honest and direct communication
Since you live in Denmark, you already know it is generally an informal culture and this also applies to workplace. Firstly, you will notice that everyone uses the first name only, and yes, also to the person in charge. The danish way of communicating is often very direct- both in writing and when they speak. It means that they are solution-oriented and want to get straight to the point and without a filter. This may come across as being rude, but that´s not the intention.
Insider tip #2 “It is a part of Danish culture to be honest and straightforward, so do not be afraid of confrontations if your opinion differs. Always be true to yourself and others.”
3. Humour can be sarcastic and ironic
Danish people can joke about everything and aren´t afraid to laugh at themselves. Have you heard of the “Law of Jante”? This unwritten concept states that nobody can think of themselves better than anyone else. Remember this if you will find it hard to understand the humorous approach of your danish colleagues. Yes, it can sound unkind, but actually, it´s often meant in a positive way.
Insider tip #3 “You should not take “jokes” personally because it is just the way Danes try to lighten the mood and loosen things up.”
4. Trust and Responsibility
If you are hired, congratulations! Because you´ve earned it! Your danish boss also knows it and trust you from the beginning. You do not need to prove it; you can only lose it. This means that it´s your time to take responsibility as an individual and as a member of the team. Once you accepted a task, you are expected that you will be able to complete it on time and up to standard. Be initiative, find the best solution to the problem, and “think outside of the box”. Do not wait for others; take your initiative and own it!
Insider tip #4 “It is better to make a wrong decision than to make no decision at all.”
3 quick tips to interact with your danish colleagues:
Join your colleagues for lunch. Most networking and small talking take place there.
Learn Danish and show your commitment and the will to integrate into Danish society and your workplace.
Speak up your opinion and contribute to discussions. Your working team and people in charge will appreciate it.