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Work culture

The Norwegian work culture is characterized by flat structure and empowered employees. For a newcomer it may be difficult to distinguish the boss from the rest of the employees. Decision-making is often by consensus. There is a high degree of autonomy in both what employees do and how they do it, and there is generally a high level of trust that everyone contributes to the common goals and objectives. Dress code is informal in most businesses.

Norwegians are usually motivated by personal development, a good working environment and friendly colleagues, rather than financial or other quantitative rewards. Employees are to a large extent expected to work for the common good, and to a lesser extent for personal fame and fortune. However, you will still find work cultures where personal achievement is valued, especially in sales and financial services.

A characteristic of Norwegian professional life is the important work/life balance. There is a general notion that people work to live rather than live to work. Norwegian lifestyle focuses on family values, sports and outdoor life. Norwegians have a close relation to nature, and many families have “hytter” (cabins) close to the coast or in the mountains. So don’t be surprised if you find your colleagues leaving work early on Fridays to go to their “hytte”.

Children are highly valued in society and this also influences work culture. It is acceptable for families with young children to leave work early to pick up their children from kindergarten.

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