Have you ever been in another country, immersed in another culture so much so that you forget your own? Culture is so powerful and after you have spent time in one place for a while, you might even start to naturally incorporate certain aspects of the culture around you into your own life. In my own traveling, I have been truly amazed by all the different cultures around the world and the ways in which they differ.
I think it is so interesting to compare the ways that different cultures handle the different aspects of life. I have seen both beautiful and and negative aspects of culture and the way it influenced the life of that specific people group. I think it can be valuable to know and even infuse parts of another country’s culture into our own work life when we see how it betters their business and life.
In Denmark, they have a word called hygge. There is not an exact English translation and I won’t even try to pretend that I can explain it, but I have heard it described as “spending a calm, cozy time with loved ones, often while enjoying good food and drink”. In one of my Kinfolk Magazines, volume three, Lynsay Reynolds talks about office hygge. When she moved from Canada, where she was used to eating lunch “while trying to reply to ten emails, read an article, and design the next photoshoot at the same time”, to Copenhagen, she was introduced to this concept, where the whole office had a specific lunch time that they all took and ate together at the same time. She explains – “It was no longer up to me what I ate or when I ate it, and I was forced to socialize with my co-workers. This resulted in feelings of anxiety and irritation, which were soon replaced by satisfaction and calm. My food intake was no longer a concern, which gave me more time to focus on the job at hand and the opportunity to bond with my colleagues in a whole new way.”
In Japan, the team concept is greatly important to their business culture. They deeply value group solidarity and the importance of celebrating the effort of the team as a whole. Even in our own brand story, team has played such an important role in the growth and transformation of our brand.
For Australians – spending time together after work, no matter what day of the week it is, is very important to them. It is such an amazing way to not only be co-workers, but to be friends who are actually invested into each other’s lives, caring about them and enjoying life together.
In several European countries, the workers sometimes take at least an hour lunch where they are away from their desk and computer. Lunch is an incredibly important meal to them and that usually means a two course meal is involved. At their lunches, they have time to rest and refresh before going back to work. This doesn’t mean that they are slacking and don’t care about their work, but that they know their limits and they want to make sure that they have fresh energy for the rest of their day.
Even if we aren’t able to take a huge break from work or take an hour lunch, we can still think about ways to rest and refresh ourselves throughout the workday and week. Perhaps it means taking a bit longer lunch, or simply taking lunch without any kind of technology around you. Perhaps it means spending your weekends on a little more self care and a little less email. We know it can be so difficult to take a break sometimes, especially when you are pouring in your passion and energy into something that you really love – trust us, we TOTALLY get that. But we have found that a little rest can go a long way in helping us to be more productive! Amy, our studio intern, talks more about this in her blog post – take a break, boost your productivity.
We also love how in the business culture of several countries around the world, they truly value their co-workers and make an effort to know them and connect with them in a real way. If you are a part of a team, there can be so many times during the day where you get into a conversation and you don’t want it to end because it’s just THAT good. That’s a good sign! Lean into those relationships and grab a coffee on the weekend or a glass of wine after work!
The diligence and great work ethic of entrepreneurs and business owners in America is something that we SO respect and value. But we also can learn from what is working in other countries and incorporate a few tips into our daily lives.
What have you learned about business from other cultures? We’d love to hear!
words by bethany – community creator & photographer
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