Working smarter, not harder, seems to be the mantra. This means working more effectively and being more focused for periods of 55 minutes, followed by a 5-minute break—and with only 30 minutes for lunch, spent in the office with colleagues.
A normal Danish working week is from Monday to Friday and office hours are usually between 8am and 5pm. Women work an average of 35 hours a week compared to 41 hours a week for men.
Family is very important to Danes. As a result, the family life of employees is respected by Danish employers. It is not uncommon for many Danish workplaces to give you the opportunity to adjust your working hours based on your family’s needs. It is also quite usual for Danes to live close to their place of work, which means that less time is spent on commuting.
With a few changes, work could become our favourite place to be!
Firstly, through observation and then consultation, we found that the staff were being distracted by office chit-chat and constant access to mobile phones during core hours. This is a common problem across all office-based businesses, but as an SME we do not have the luxury of spare capacity.
The first action we took was to increase our employees’ holiday entitlements. Yes, you read that right! Because we felt that changes in work practices could feel punitive, we wanted to show that any changes would also benefit our staff. As a result, staff agreed to our proposed changes.
We then changed our office routine to be the following:
We will be monitoring our new productivity plan for the next six months. We will then consider further changes for improving the work-life balance of our staff.
For instance, we are considering allowing our staff to have one Friday off per month, which would be organised through a rota. We are also investigating ways to reduce working hours, to allow a 4pm daily finish whilst keeping a rotating skeleton team on-site until 5.30pm.
We hope that our holistic approach to “being more Denmark” will continuously improve our productivity and process. That’s our ongoing Viking challenge!