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Norwegian Drinking Culture

To say Norwegians don’t party hard would be like saying the tax is only a little high in Norway.

It would be quite the understatement.

No, in fact Norwegians enjoy a drink (or 15) and those drunken adventures often cross over into business life as well.

With the cost of alcohol in Norway so high, there’s a local expression that covers their approach to drinking quite well “Being half drunk is a waste of money.”

In Norway they don’t go halfway when it comes to drinking, more like all the way and then some.

 

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Typical Norwegian Workday

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Typical Norwegian Workday

[/tm_pb_text][tm_pb_text admin_label=”Text” text_orientation=”left” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”] After spending enough time in Norway you might start to feel like time moves just a little slower here. Everyone and everything from planes to trains is on time, almost exactly on time in fact. Work is always delivered on time or as agreed upon. To not follow through on your word can cause you to lose trust in Norway. However, everything else just seems to take a little bit longer. The pace is noticeably subdued, and that’s exactly how Norwegians like it. To rush something or haphazardly finish work is not the norm. To take an unnecessary shortcut to speed things up doesn’t really happen here. Things get done when they get done. This doesn’t help much when trying to do business deals with Norwegians. I soon learned how to operate on a whole new time scale: Norwegian time. [/tm_pb_text][tm_pb_text admin_label=”Text” global_module=”1231″ text_orientation=”left” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid” saved_tabs=”all”]


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Morning at the Norwegian Office

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Morning at the Norwegian Office

 

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The modern Norwegian corporate office is a thing of beauty. Imagine a vista of sensible floor plans along with that slick Scandinavian furniture in a workplace that is as efficient as the Norwegians that occupy it. Open spaces, calm colors, exposed wood and great coffee machines with touch screens make them a worker’s paradise.

Like many things in Norway, much thought is put into the office design and overall experience. You won’t find many dark, lifeless offices like you find throughout the world. Instead you’ll find big open windows with amazing views. Even when the Norwegian worker is at the office it’s important their precious nature is still within reach or at least within view.

You won’t find many mazes of endless cubicles nor will you find many private offices. This isn’t America where one’s office sends a clear signal of your status in the company. The American executive often dreams of obtaining the coveted corner office as the ultimate symbol of status. Sometimes this even goes as far as putting the executive’s office on a higher floor and overlooking the rank-and-file, lower-level employees. That is of course so they can easily survey their domain and loyal subjects. It also creates a very clear distinction of where one sits in the multi layered hierarchy of the American office place. This is less important in the flat hierarchy of Norwegian companies where they go to great lengths to avoid such perceptions of inequality.

In addition to this equality there’s a calm and peace found inside the Norwegian office. However, if you ever want to cause pandemonium within these walls I recommend this one simple trick: go around and ask every single person “How are you doing!?” when you arrive in the morning. This type of pleasantry might be common in other work cultures but not so much in Norway. Instead it’s more common for workers to arrive at their desk and not speak to a single soul. Norwegians are also notoriously awful making small talk as well. So if you ask how they are doing, they might even take you seriously and start telling you about all sorts of random personal issues!

 

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Being competitive in sports vs being competitive in business

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Being competitive in sports vs being competitive in business [/tm_pb_text][tm_pb_text admin_label=”Text” text_orientation=”left” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”]

 

Every weekday morning a highly competitive sporting event takes place in Oslo.

It’s not a marathon or football game.

It’s not even a real sporting event to be honest.

You’ve no doubt heard of the bike race the Tour de France but please let me introduce to the Norwegian version: The Tour De Finance.

It takes place every morning as the Norwegian corporate foot soldiers living in the suburbs (Bærum) make their way on bicycle into the Oslo city center. Here on the urban grid of streets and bike paths, the Norwegian worker has the chance to do something that’s more difficult to do within the office walls. That is to aggressively compete with their coworkers and perhaps a few business competitors.

When physical activity is involved then it’s OK to be really competitive in Norway.

Learn more about how Norwegians compete in business in Sean Percival’s ‘The Loud American: Working with Norwegians’.

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The Loud  American: Working with Norwegian Book on God morgen Norge

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The Loud  American: Working with Norwegian Book on God Morning Norge

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Sean Percival, the author of The Loud American: Working with Norwegians book will appear on God Morning Norge (Good Morning Norway) to discuss the book! Tune in and be sure to order your copy now to get it before Christmas.

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Julebord: The Norwegian Christmas Party

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Julebord: The Norwegian Christmas Party

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The apex of Norwegian drinking culture, at least as it pertains to the workplace, is Julebord, or the Christmas party. A year’s worth of pent up work frustrations is released on this glorious night. It’s a bit of a fancy night, at least fancier than a typical Norwegian event. Often taking place in a luxury hotel or other fine establishment, this is one night of the year when it’s ok to indulge a little (more like a lot). You’ve almost made it through the brutal winter so perhaps you’ve earned it after all.  As the Julebrod invitations are starting to come in here’s a few simple rules to live by:

  • Norwegian men should dust of the ties they never wear for this evening.
  • Norwegian women can also get a little fancy and even wear stiletto heals.
  • This is night to share feedback with your colleagues, good or bad. The alcohol will help you muster up the courage to do so.
  • If you have romantic feelings for a colleague now is the time to let them know. Once again the alcohol should help.
  • It’s perfectly OK to sleep with your boss this night, even if he or she is married!
  • The same rules that apply to Las Vegas apply to Julebord. So what happens at the Julebord stays at the Julebord. Don’t make your coworkers uncomfortable by discussing the night’s events the next day. Or ever again really.

For foreigners this is a night to celebrate and strengthen your relationship with Norwegian colleagues. It’s one of the few evenings when this is easy to do. For the Norwegians out there please check in on your foreign workers to ensure they are not overwhelmed. They will not be used to seeing such an overly social experience in Norway. Hand them a shot of aquavit and help them sing along on this wonderful night. God Jule!

[/tm_pb_text][/tm_pb_column][/tm_pb_row][/tm_pb_section][tm_pb_section admin_label=”Section” fullwidth=”off” specialty=”off” transparent_background=”on” allow_player_pause=”off” inner_shadow=”off” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off” custom_padding=”50px|50px|50px|50px” padding_mobile=”off” make_fullwidth=”off” use_custom_width=”off” width_unit=”on” make_equal=”off” use_custom_gutter=”off”][tm_pb_row admin_label=”Row”][tm_pb_column type=”4_4″][tm_pb_text admin_label=”Text” text_orientation=”left” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”] Learn more about Julebord and other aspects of working with Norwegians in our book. Shipping now and it of course makes for a great Christmas gift. [/tm_pb_text][/tm_pb_column][/tm_pb_row][tm_pb_row admin_label=”Row”][tm_pb_column type=”4_4″][tm_pb_text admin_label=”Text” global_module=”1231″ text_orientation=”left” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid” saved_tabs=”all”]


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