Denmark, one of the happiest countries in the world, works an average of 18 days a month and 34 hours a week. The Danes always maintain a work-life balance while maintaining high employee productivity. Learning their views on work may make us work happier.
Taipei, TAIWAN (Merxwire) – Denmark, one of the happiest countries in the world, has a leisurely pace of life and is full of Nordic culture. Danes work 18 days a month and 34 hours a week, maintaining a work-life balance. In the work-life balance ranking released by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), it won first place. The Netherlands, Norway, and Belgium are next, and the United States ranks 28th. With a seemingly leisurely working attitude, its one-hour work productivity is better than the USA, ranking fifth in the world. How to work happily like the Danes?
Work Happily and Be Equal
Arbejdsglæde means “happy work” in Danish. Even though this is a common working trait of the Nordics, it was created by the Danes. One of the reasons that make them work happily is the Jante Law they follow. Jante Law is an important core spirit of Nordic enterprises and society for groups, which means that everyone is an individual and hopes that everyone can be treated equally.
The students in primary school in Denmark can call their teachers by their first names, because they believe that everyone is an equal individual, regardless of gender, age or rank. Applied in the workplace, it reduces the class relationship between the superior and subordinate, the communication is smoother, and it is better to express or accept good opinions. It is not based on the opinions of senior personnel or supervisors, and there is less sense of oppression in the company. Of course, the working environment will be much more comfortable.
Find a Work-Life Balance
Another important concept that affects Danes’ work attitude is “Hygge”. When the Danes proposed the concept of Hygge, everyone’s first impression was a cozy life, including food, red wine, scented candles, thick wool socks, etc which make your life more comfortable. But in fact, Hygge is not only to make yourself comfortable, but also to pay attention to the spiritual satisfaction and ritual sense brought by material things, and to care more about the feelings of family and the close group relationship.
So the Danes combine all the elements mentioned above naturally to practice this simple and balanced life. They leave work early every Friday because they want to spend time with their families. They will ask for leave to stay at home when the child is born and sick. It is not difficult for them to pick up their children after class and enjoy afternoon tea with their parents every week. Government policies also support this kind of life, allowing them to spend enough time with their families after work, interact and share, and when they return to the office, they can concentrate on their work.
The Danish View of Work
- Because of equality, there is less pressure on the ranks, the willingness to express one’s own opinions is improved, and different ideas are also accepted. They will not choose not to speak because afraid of conflict or being hated and feel that conflict is also a way of communication. New ideas will be born after communication.
- Danes often talk about “Reflect on myself”, that is, looking back on the past and reflecting on oneself. They hope that every experience will allow them to grow, learn and improve. Asking questions is one of their education patterns since they were in childhood. They maintain an appropriate skeptical attitude and the courage to ask questions about anything in life or work. These reflections and doubts eventually became the nourishment of their lives.
- The Danes have a one-month holiday in summer and two weeks of Christmas holidays. They spend time with their families and enjoy vacations, and then return to work after the rest. They don’t worry about leaving work for a while, because they think that as long as they can know what to do and what not to do, and focus on valuable things, they can improve work productivity. When they are on vacation, they always can relax.
- On average, a quarter of the Danes change jobs every two years, mostly because they want to change works by themselves and accept the risk of switching. Therefore, they are considered the persons who dare to focus on the future. Of course, it is also due to the perfect unemployment subsidies provided by the government, including freelancers who receive cases also enjoy this benefit. Private enterprises are actively promoting AI intelligence to automate repetitive tasks, improve employee satisfaction, and reduce the time for general affairs reports and document processing.
- According to a survey by Ramboll Management and Analyze Senmark, more than half of Danes believe that they will continue to work even if they win the lottery or have enough money to live on. Aalborg University’s survey also found that more than 70% of Danes agree or strongly agree that they will continue to work even if they do not need to earn money to pay living expenses. It means that they are happy to work.
- The World Competitiveness Yearbook survey shows that Denmark is the world’s most dynamic and motivated employee. Surveys conducted by the European Union have also found that Danish workers are the happiest among EU countries. Research published by the University of Warwick shows that when employees have positive emotions, productivity increases by 12%, so happy Danes have high employee productivity.
We cannot say that the working environment for Danes is completely stress-free. According to a study conducted by the Department of Occupational Medicine at Herning University Hospital, 1 in 10 Danish think, they feel stressed from work, especially civil servants, lawyers, and financial staff. In recent years, the increase in communication software, popular 3C equipment, and remote work mode has prevented Danes from fully enjoying their time outside of work, and has also increased the frequency of working from home. In addition, foreign high-level intellectuals and professional immigrants also made them feel pressured.
But their outlook on life and work attitude, as well as the friendliness of the entire environment to workplace happiness, are indeed better than those of many countries, and they are worth learning for us. Imagine a work life that can accommodate a family, where you can freely express various ideas to stimulate the spark of progress, and you can also choose to switch jobs to meet new challenges. We can’t say it’s the best environment, but it seems to make us happier at work.