Sunday, 12 October 2014

The New Week Begins Now

As I promised to go to work for a few hours a day and because my holiday starts on Thursday, this officially feels like Monday. This means that it might also be a good moment to talk about work - rather, about the difference between working in Slovakia and in Sweden. Please note that these are mere observations based on subjective experiences. In Slovakia I only worked for one company, so these experiences come from there. As I am writing this in a hurry, sources and other material will follow in another post. 

In summary, I would say that working in Scandinavia is easier and it is also more pleasant than working in a lot of other countries. I can also see why some companies outsource - after all, much about pleasantness of work (as I see it) directly relates to how the company treats its employees, often requiring a fair amount of money. An example, in Slovakia our manager would sometimes (once every two months) arrange a common breakfast for our department. Any AW-activities we had, we had to pay for ourselves. At my current job, the entire company gathers every Friday for a "fika" (coffee and cake), we have fresh fruit brought in daily, the coffee is free :). The company pays for any AW-activities. In other words, there is a completely different approach to including employees. 

I have also experienced that the style of leadership and management is very different. In general, Scandinavian managers seem to be more down-to-earth. It is not a shame to listen to what employees have to say and the information flow seems to be greater. Everybody doesn't need to know everything. sure - but I do think everyone benefits from knowing the things that directly affects their work. As an example, in my former job in Slovakia, our closest manager (who had the title team leader) would not inform the team if one of the members would be exempted from certain tasks, the rest of the team or parts of the team would need to do these tasks on the top of their own with no explanation! The team leader did also not participate in the daily work, which is not the case in my current team. In Sweden and in my current job, there have been cases when the information has not gone all the way down to everyone, but there is one essential difference. When people here feel excluded, they feel that they can talk about this to their management. And that's exactly what they do. And usually the management listens and tries to find a solution with the whole group. 

As I'll soon be off to work for some overtime, the topic of overtime will be my last point. As an employee, I am prepared to work for my employer for 40 hours a week for my normal salary. Outside work, I have a life. The company is aware of this, so it compensates anything above 40 hours to me. I think this sounds like a fair deal. That was not the case in Slovakia. I remember reading an article about Slovakia in one flight magazine for Austrian Airlines. Apparently Slovakia is so attractive because it offers a low-cost and high-skilled work force. Yes, low-cost- What does low-cost mean? Among other things, it means that you are expected to work more than 40 hours for free. I would not have worked on a Sunday in Slovakia, but as my salary will double today, I do not mind doing it here in Sweden.

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