and work permit
Danish workplace culture
and work permit
Danish workplace culture
What is the tone and management like in a Danish workplace?
Denmark's work culture and professional environments can be challenging for internationals. We completely understand - everything is new and different!
Don't worry if you feel that you are struggling. It's normal!
Danish professional behaviour can be relaxed and informal. Irony and sarcasm is a normal way to communicate in Denmark - even at workplaces - so if you don’t understand what is being said or implied, please just ask.
Don't be afraid to ask for help! It shows that you are professional and want to learn and improve as well as get input from your manager or colleagues in order to get the best possible result for the company. It's freedom with responsibility.
How can I create value for Danish companies?
Being an international student or graduate means that you have language skills and understanding of cultures in other countries, which can be very relevant for Danish employers doing business internationally – and this is an area where you can clearly distinguish yourself from Danes!
If you e.g. are Chinese, you both speak the language and know the do's and don'ts when collaborating with Chinese as well as you have your knowledge and experience from your education. This is extremely valuable for a Danish company wishing to expand its business to China.
Besides your native language, your second language might also be very relevant.
What if I don't speak Danish?
In general, learning to speak Danish is key when you live and work in Denmark - and especially if you are searching for a job.
Even though almost all Danes are close to fluent in English, they tend to prefer speaking Danish with their co-workers, especially in the break room.
Not understanding any Danish might leave you feeling excluded and isolated. However, if you remind your colleagues of your presence, most of them will of course switch back to a common language.
Some companies provide language courses for expats and there are also different language schools around the country.
You may feel some pressure to do well with your studies, having a great student job as well as study Danish, but remember that Danes appreciate effort! Learning Danish at an professional level may be an impossible task while you study. What makes the difference is your attitude: that you are trying and making progress. Keep your spirits up and stay motivated.
Where can I learn Danish?
The majority of academic positions have great flexibility when it comes to working hours. Often, it is possible to work from a home office or leave early for a family event one day and then just catch up on lost hours later. Generally, as long as you get the job done and meet deadlines, you will be able to plan your schedule the way it suits you and your family best.
Very few Danes socialise with their colleagues outside of work, and you cannot take this personally. The Danes value their spare time because it allows them to do sports, take their children to after school activities etc.
How to meet and understand Danes
- If you participate in planning social events you will meet Danes and international in a more informal way.
- Be curious about Danish traditions and ways of doing things – share you own traditions.
- Make use of baking skills, bonding over cake and coffee can brighten any rainy day. Food and sweets build a common language in any environment – in your studies or workplace.
- Joining sports clubs will bring many valuable connections. You never know who you can meet! Danes value health, exercise and staying active.
- Doing volunteer work and showing that you are participating and contributing in your community.
If you are new in town, get to know people by volunteering or joining a club or association where you can practice a hobby of yours – and of course invite your colleagues over for coffee and cake.
Never give up. Be the one who takes first steps, even if it is more than once.
What do I need to know?