Five unwritten rules of Danish working culture – and how you can explain them to your international employees

There are over 290,000 full-time foreign employees in Denmark. As many of 1 out of 8 workers in Denmark now hold non-Danish passports, according to a new study from Dansk Erhverv. These energetic, talented employees help keep Denmark running smoothly, and we need their skills.

But Danes sometimes need to reach out and help international employees understand the unwritten rules of Danish working culture. Many Danish managers are surprised to discover the unwritten and unspoken rules they have been expecting the newcomers to follow, without really explaining them.

In my new book, “How to Work in Denmark: Tips for Finding a Job, Succeeding at Work, and Understanding your Danish Boss,” I explain how international employees can fit into the Danish workplace.

Yet newcomers are not the only ones who need to adapt. When I deliver speeches to audiences of Danish managers, I usually offer a working in Denmark toolbox –  these five unwritten rules and expectations and give managers tips for how they can help newcomers navigate Danish working culture.

Having come to Denmark myself from the USA and integrated into the Danish workplace, I learned these rules the hard way!

Kay Xander Mellish toolbox for working in Denmark