Working With Norwegians

Morning at the Norwegian Office


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!