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What I Learnt Visiting Norway

Oakstone International executive search: What I learn visiting Norway

It’s only a two hour flight away but Norway could not be more different from the UK.

Getting off the plane I was greeted with -11 Degrees, having quickly grabbed a £12 slice of pizza I made my way to my hotel situated in the middle of Oslo.

It was a social trip, sight seeing, enjoying the snow etc etc. however there are a few things I noticed when visiting the city.

It’s quiet until around 10am

My partner and I got up at 7am to make the most of our short time in Oslo, however when we got out the hotel there was no one around. Why? was it a bank holiday? Do Norwegians not work Mondays?

It’s a capital city after all.

It turns out the average full time Norwegian works a mere 27 hours a week – one of the shortest in the world, but more shockingly Norwegians claim to be thriving in the workplace which is down to a high level of job security, feeling motivated and having a high sense of wellbeing at work (

It just goes to show that long working hours does not mean higher productivity.

The people are happy and helpful

Ok – this doesn’t apply to every person in the country but the people we spoke to were friendly and happy to help if you needed it.  This wasn’t just the people in customer service but the people on the metro too.  They weren’t in a rush or stressed either – in fact Norway was rated the least stressful country in the world, compared to the UK, which was rated 56/74 (

Why? it’s most likely down to their economic security, community spirit (having more time to spend with family and friends) and having more money (yes their cost of living is a lot higher than ours in the UK, but their Gross Domestic Product per Capita ranks 6th in the world).

They pride themselves on being punctual

Whilst on the metro, there was a sign… if your metro is over 4 minutes late, the Metro company will pay for a taxi up to a certain amount for the inconvenience.

Norwegians are passionate about being on time and pride themselves on it. They are the second most punctual nation, sitting close behind Germans (

They believe that if you are not on time, you don’t care – something which many of us brits should take into consideration.

What can we learn for them?

In the UK we are in the mind set that the more you work, the more productive and successful you will be, with mental health and family time taking a back seat.  We need to look at other cultures and ways of life to improve ours and our productivity. Turning up on time, being inclusive and helpful to others are just a few ways of doing this but it’s down to our employers and leaders to lead the way and change the workplace for the better by educating how to be more productive and understanding that we don’t have to sacrifice our well being and time to be more successful.