We can learn a lot from other cultures, from sustainable living to business etiquette. Successful business leaders never stop learning, growing, and trying new things. This includes looking outwards and taking inspiration from different successful models. The Scandinavian model is undoubtedly one of the most inspiring. Danish workers are among the happiest in the world, and Sweden, Denmark, and Norway all ranked in the top ten in the Open for Business rankings. So it makes sense that many UK-based businesses are looking at Scandinavian countries for inspiration.
Today, with the circular economy specialists Reconomy, we’re taking a closer look at what makes the Scandinavian model so successful and why you should apply some of the Scandinavian ideas to your own business.
A culture of equality
One powerful aspect of the Scandinavian model is the positive workplace culture. Most Scandinavian businesses operate with a flat management structure. This means that employees don’t necessarily have a boss to directly report to. Instead, each employee is given autonomy and the power to lead their own projects and make decisions. For many employees, this means significantly less stress, fewer tight deadlines, and less pressure. Although it might sound like a radical change to many UK businesses owners, this culture of trust appears to result in productivity and workplace excellence.
Another aspect of many Scandinavian business models is their flexible approach to working. Working overtime is generally not valued or encouraged in Scandinavia. This works to reduce competitive work attitudes and burnout. What’s more, Scandinavian people enjoy a lot of flexibility in their working schedule and tend to work no more than 36 hours per week.
Workplace flexibility also extends to family life. Scandinavian workplaces offer either free or subsidised daycare facilities. In Scandinavia, childcare is subsidised based on each employee’s income. For those on lower wages, free childcare is available to reduce any added stress and allow them to focus on their job.
The Scandinavian model is also inspiring when it comes to sustainable waste management. Sweden Is currently aiming to become a zero-waste country, meaning that households and businesses all play their part in creating a greener country. This aim goes beyond recycling, and the Swedish aim is to create a circular economy in which products can be reused completely. This is something that businesses should also be aiming for in the UK. Ensuring that your company is at the forefront of eco-friendly waste management and green policies will do wonders for your business. Not only will you be doing your part for the good of the planet, but you will build a positive reputation for your business. Green business practices are sure to impress customers and improve brand loyalty. Getting into the practice of reusing resources can also have a big financial impact on your business.
Another key element of the Scandinavian model that we could all learn from is the forging of strong business partnerships. As well as being beneficial to your business’s culture, this is another way of pushing forward green policies and building a reputation as an eco-friendly business. Norway, for example, generates 97 per cent of its energy from sustainable sources. Part of the reason for this is that companies in Norway have built strong and successful partnerships with green businesses that follow environmentally friendly guidelines.
By introducing green policies and partnering with businesses that have equally high standards, you’ll be playing an important role in making the UK more sustainable. This will also give you the edge when it comes to attaining customers and clients. In a 2021 survey from Deloitte, it was found that 32 per cent of UK customers are “highly engaged with adopting a more sustainable lifestyle”, and 28 per cent of customers have “stopped buying certain products due to environmental concerns”. By taking a leaf out of Sweden’s book, you’ll have a greater chance of attracting and retaining eco-savvy customers.
From company culture to green initiatives, there is plenty we can all learn from Scandinavian culture. Applying these ideas to your business model could make the world of difference. Why not give them a try?