Working in Denmark

Workplace Culture

  • Danes are some of Europe’s most efficient workers – but they do not just live to work. Maintaining a good balance between time on the job and personal life is important to them, and employers respect this. 
  • While the Danes are hard workers, they prefer to do their jobs within Denmark’s 37 hour official work week. Staying extra hours is discouraged, and most employees leave at around 4pm to pick up their children and begin preparing the evening meal.
  • Danish working culture is characterised by open and informal dialogue between employees and management. Teamwork plays an important role in many workplaces, and mutual respect is a key term. Manners between colleagues are informal and relaxed, and humour plays an important role in everyday life.
  • Asking ones colleagues for advice is not seen as a sign of weakness. The ability to cooperate is regarded highly, and people help each other across status and professional categories.

Management culture

  • Danish workplaces are characterized by an absence of the highly hierarchical structure found in many other countries.
  • The line of command between the boss and the employees is short, and in principle everyone – regardless of education, position or social status – is regarded as equal.
  • It is thus only natural to find the boss spending the lunchtime with the staff and standing in the same queue in the canteen.
  • The boss also listens to his or her staff and is willing to take advice because the staff is seen as specialists in their own fields.
  • This is reasonable as much responsibility and influence is given to the employees which is highly valued – higher than, e.g., salary and employment security.

Did you know

  • Despite limited working hours, Denmark has some of the world’s highest productivity rates.  Danes are the second-most productive workers in Europe (Ireland is first), and Danes are more productive than workers in the USA, Canada, Japan and Australia.

According to the OECD, a good work-life balance helps keep employees healthy and also improves workplace safety.