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Understanding business etiquette in Sweden

Etiquette in Sweden extends beyond how to behave in the sauna or what to say when offered a second…

Etiquette in Sweden extends beyond how to behave in the sauna or what to say when offered a second helping of Surströmming.

Although the Swedish are known as a relaxed people, even in a business setting, a high level of professionalism is valued. A few tips on Swedish business etiquette will help you to understand your Swedish professional counterparts and ensure that your meeting, conference or negotiation goes without a hitch.

  • Dress

While Swedish business dress code leans more towards informal than corporate, Swedes as a whole are elegant and tasteful in their choice of business apparel. Think less “day at the beach” casual and more “meet the parents” smart casual. In Swedish business culture, business people would avoid dressing in an ostentatious way that would draw undue attention. Good quality, well-fitting apparel is to be recommended. The seasons in Sweden are more defined than in many other countries and so if visiting in the colder part of the year plan to dress appropriately for the possibility of rain, wind, snow or a combination of all three!

  • Manner

In Swedish business culture, a respectful yet direct approach is best. When meeting new colleagues or business associates, a firm handshake, polite instruction and direct eye contact is the way forward. Once you have met your new coworkers or business associates, it is generally acceptable to refer to them on a first name basis. While most Swedes speak excellent English, a few key phrases in Swedish will help you make friends fast and most importantly will help you in any business dealings.

  • Time

The success of Swedish businesses in the global economy bears testament to an excellent work ethic. Swedish business people are punctual and prompt and the business visitor to the country is wise to keep this in mind when attending meetings or conferences. This being said, the country is a world leader in assisting workers to strike a healthy work/home life balance. This is demonstrated by the flexi-time that many companies offer, allowing the accumulation of hours by employees.

  • Take A Break

A key part of the Swedish business day is ‘fika’, or the custom of drinking coffee often accompanied by an open sandwich or something sweet. Swedish business people will schedule this break as part of their daily routine. Fika is an important part of a productive day, not just a chance to get your caffeine fix or try a tasty semla pastry. Why not view this as a team building opportunity and spend a few minutes getting to know your colleagues? The Hotel Riverton in Gothenburg conference rooms have been thoughtfully designed to make your whole business day a relaxed but productive occasion. In fact, when it comes to team building, move beyond fika and let the team at Hotel Riverton arrange a tailored activity for you and your team.

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