Insights / 16 Jun 2014

Balancing acts by the Dutch

The approach to balancing work and private life differs from country to country, yet one aspect remains the same: businesses have to deal with it. The Dutch prefer a happy medium.

Text Pete Santos

Itim International's managing director and diversity expert Egbert Schram
Itim International’s managing director and diversity expert Egbert Schram

BORENIUS FINLAND – Egbert Schram, now living in Finland, is the managing director and diversity expert at Itim International, a cultural management consultancy. Hailing from the Netherlands and having two young children, Schram has insight into the cultural differences and norms of the Netherlands and Finland.

“The biggest difference is that the Dutch try to have balance and do a bit of everything, which is the reason why men and women work part-time during the crowded years. Finns on the other hand tend to do things hundred percent”, says Schram.

Part-time work allows for the employees to stay integrated in the work environment, and is cost and time efficient for the employer and the employee. In order for this happy medium to work, however, the business culture must be prepared.

“Part-time work during the crowded years is a great way to keep knowledge in a company. For ‘thirty-somethings’ in the peak years of their output, working part-time can help avoid employees leaving the company due to family responsibilities”, states Schram.

More about work-life balance here: Crowded years – from paper to practice

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