Doing business in Finland is made easier by the country’s excellent social welfare system, which helps integrate expats into society, including helping them look for jobs and learn Finnish or Swedish to reduce language barriers in the workplace.

To look for employment, job portals are an expat’s best bet. Nowadays, expats are likely to find jobs in the healthcare and IT sectors, but there are also many opportunities in the service industry and entrepreneurial projects.

Finland’s efficient economy is reflected in how well and easily business is conducted. The country promotes entrepreneurship and makes starting a business easier by lowering fees and processing times when registering businesses online.

When relocating to Finland, expats should take time to understand business culture and etiquette to avoid confusion in business and social settings. Here are some key points to consider.


Fast facts

Business hours

Finland’s workweek is 40 hours, and office hours are normally Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm, with lunch lasting one to two hours between 11am and 2pm.

Business language

Finnish and Swedish are the country’s official languages. Although learning the language is difficult, expats should make an effort to learn at least some Finnish. Free university language courses are offered whether expats are registered as students or not.

Dress

Business dress is generally conservative, formal and stylish, often in dark suits or dresses.

Gifts

Gift-giving is not common in business settings. Although, when invited to a Finn’s house, flowers, chocolate or wine are suitable options.

Gender equality

Finland has strong female empowerment values and equality standards that are reflected in their employment practices, and most women with children continue to work.

Greetings

A firm handshake with a smile and direct eye contact are the norm with greetings. Finnish colleagues usually call each other by their first names in the workplace, although for formal meetings, surnames may be more appropriate. Expats can ask their colleagues if they are unsure.


Business culture in Finland

 Photo of people shaking hands by Thirdman from Pexels

Communication

Finns are normally direct. Communication is fairly open, with few topics being taboo. Still, conversational tones should be moderate, courteous and respectful, without interrupting anyone.

Hierarchy

Finns take pride in their egalitarian society and culture. As such, the workplace hierarchy tends to be flat with open communication, and junior staff members are often given authority to make decisions.

Relationships

Long-term relationships are valued, although small talk in formal business settings isn’t. Relationships and friendships are built in more informal settings and this includes not only restaurants but saunas too.

Values

Punctuality is valued in Finland – working hours and meeting times should be adhered to. Expats should let their colleagues and peers know if they expect to arrive late.


Dos and don’ts of business in Finland

  • Do realise that Finnish people love their coffee, and they drink it throughout the working day 
     
  • Do be humble and modest 
     
  • Do say what needs to be said in business meetings, getting straight to the point, avoiding small talk 
     
  • Do manage your time well 
     
  • Don’t interrupt when someone is speaking, as this is rude 
     
  • Don’t be late – for both business and social situations 
     
  • Don’t be surprised if you get invited to go to a sauna – Finland is full of saunas, and they make for a popular social activity

Expat Health Insurance

Cigna Health Insurance -

Cigna Global Health Insurance.

Medical insurance specifically designed for expats. With Cigna, you won't have to rely on foreign public health care systems, which may not meet your needs. Cigna allows you to speak to a doctor on demand, for consultations or instant advice, wherever you are in the world. They also offer full cancer care across all levels of cover, and settle the cost of treatments directly with the provider.

Get a quote from Cigna Global

Moving Internationally?

Sirelo logo

International Movers. Get Quotes. Compare Prices.

Sirelo has a network of more than 500 international removal companies that can move your furniture and possessions to your new home. By filling in a form, you’ll get up to 5 quotes from recommended movers. This service is free of charge and will help you select an international moving company that suits your needs and budget.

Get your free no-obligation quotes from select removal companies now!