Woman in front of a tree, looking into the camera, smiling.
Sofi Tegsveden Deveaux is often asked by people who are new in Sweden how to small talk with Swedes. Credit: Ulla Engberg/Sveriges Radio

Expert tips on how to understand Swedish work culture

4:48 min

Ever wonder why your Swedish colleagues never ask you about your personal life? Or do you get frustrated over the lack of direction from your Swedish boss? And what do you do when there's an awkward silence around the fika table?

Sofi Tegsveden Deveaux is used to answering these and similar questions from people who have come from abroad to work in Sweden, and has collected her best answers in a new book.

"The cultural self-awareness in Sweden is very low. We believe that we are sort of neutral country, and that others are doing things differently," she told Radio Sweden.

Tegsveden Deveaux used to teach the Swedish language to academics from abroad, but found that language was not the biggest issue. Instead her students found the cultural aspects more troubling and confusing.

She has lived abroad, herself, in Scotland for a number of years, and has now written the book "Working in Sweden - the A-Z guide" along with Anne Pihl, who is a relocation consultant originally from Ireland.

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