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Man from world's happiest country shares how their work culture is different from the US

A CEO of a company which is dedicated to measuring happiness, shares how the world's happiest country is different from the rest of the world, mainly America.

Man from world's happiest country shares how their work culture is different from the US
Cover Image Source: Facebook | Miika Mäkitalo

We are aware of Finland being dubbed as "World's Happiest Country" but most of us have no clue why they earned the title. Miika Makitalo, the CEO of HappyOrNot, shared his thoughts on why Finland is the happiest. His organization made headlines for creating smiley button terminals to collect customer and employee feedback globally. Makitalo mentions that the source of happiness for Finnish people largely depends on their excellent work culture

Representative Image Source: Pexels |  Baptiste Valthier
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Baptiste Valthier

Makitalo told Newsweek that a Finnish phrase "kell' onni on, se onnen kätkeköön" which translates to "whoever has found happiness, that happiness she should hide," has contributed to making Finland the happiest country in the world for the past six years. He also listed a few things that he believes make the Finnish people happier than the rest of the countries. The first thing Makitalo mentioned to the news outlet was that people in his homeland love to go out in nature.


Makitalo himself loves to spend time away from his screen and explore running trails in the country. "Finding a connection to nature may seem a bit too spiritual for some but it's hard to deny that it plays a major part in alleviating occupational and societal stresses," he said. "Overcoming adversity is another important part of contentment for Finns," he continues, adding that the climate in Finland can be ruthless at times. "This is where sisu comes in. The Finnish concept of sisu is defined as the combination of determination, courage and willpower. It can also be used to define the ability to push through adversity and reach your limits."

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Paul Theodor Oja
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Paul Theodor Oja

Makitalo goes on to elaborate how Finland follows a "trusting workplace attitude" and their society places a huge value on trusting others and not overthinking. In addition to that, the flexible work practices and the trust between the employees and the employers uphold the entire system. "Managers are encouraged to think how they can serve their team members to deliver their best," Makitalo mentions. "It's a culture where I can focus on how I can do my job to the best of my ability. This freedom and trust transcend the workplace too."

Another reason why Finns are happier than others is because how they are not "overly competitive." Makitalo believes that a competitive attitude can be a great motivator but they are careful not to make competition their sole focus in life. "One can be ambitious and humble at the same time and feel content in life," he said. The next few points he adds about the secret to Finn's being the happiest folks ever is all about how they hold strong family values and how a person's wealth does not define them in the country.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Fauxels
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Fauxels

"I know that my happiness is inextricably linked to that of my family. If I work late and on weekends, that is time sacrificed at the expense of others. Respecting everyone's right to time off is another way that we as Finns maintain our happiness levels. I strongly believe that having fun and enjoying free time boosts workplace contribution and that's why a healthy work-life balance is vital," Makitalo remarks. On average, a Finnish employee is entitled to 4-5 weeks holiday so they can bounce back to work with a refreshed attitude and ideas.

Image Source: Pexels/ Helena Lopes
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Helena Lopes

Makitalo has also observed the clear difference between the business leaders of the U.S. and Finland. In the U.S. the leaders often have fancy cars that represent the company's wealth and success whereas, in Finland, a business owner driving a lavish car is associated with arrogance or a company indicating its superiority. "It may come as a surprise, but even with this happiness philosophy we are still home to some very successful companies," he concluded.

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