The Future of Work – Sweden

The Swedish working environment

Filter the map below to see how the mood of Swedish workers compares to those in other markets:

Swedish workers are productive despite frustrations

Alongside Spanish workers, Swedish workers are the most likely to convey a sense of calmness at work (34%), while also performing higher than average for contentment (36%). This could be conducive of high levels of engagment in work, with two fifths of Swedish respondents feeling productive (39%) and a third feeling motivated (34%).

However, 17% report feeling bored, which is the highest among all markets surveyed. Feelings of frustration and exhaustion (both 29%) are also higher than most other markets, although felt more strongly among females. Just over a third (35%) of female workers report feeling frustrated compared to a fifth (22%) of males. Similarly, one in three (34%) females report feeling exhausted compared to 24% of males.

Despite this, females feel almost equally as engaged in their work as their male counterparts; 33% of the female workers surveyed report feeling motivated compared to 35% of males. Similarly, 38% of females report feeling productive, just shy of 41% of males.

Encouragingly, there are low levels of poor wellbeing among the Swedish sample. Only 13% of all Swedish workers surveyed report feeling sad, just over a tenth (12%) report feeling anxious and 10% overwhelmed.

Workplace culture

More Swedish workers feel comfortable talking about their mental health with their boss, than a pay rise

When it comes to their own, or their loved one’s wellbeing, a sizeable minority of the Swedish workers surveyed feel comfortable talking to their boss about necessary time off, but less so about career progression.

Over two fifths (44%) of Swedish workers surveyed say they feel comfortable asking for time off work for mental health reasons, compared to 26% who feel uncomfortable.

Similarly, more than three in five (64%) feel comfortable asking for time off to care for someone else compared to only 14% who feel uncomfortable.

Despite this one in ten (11%) agree that they have lied to their boss about taking time off work for mental health reasons.

In contrast Swedish less Swedish respondents feel comfortable having career-related discussions with their boss. While over a third (35%) say they feel comfortable asking their boss for a pay rise, the same amount (35%) say they feel uncomfortable. The figure is even lower (27%) for those who say they feel comfortable asking for a promotion, with three in ten (30%) feeling uncomfortable doing this.

Overall, less Swedish respondents feel comfortable discussing their career goals, than their mental wellbeing.

Do Swedish workers and employers share mutual respect?

Future of work

Over two thirds say a 4-day working week would positively impact their wellbeing, but is it realistic?

There have been global conversations among governments and businesses about the possibility of reducing the 5-day working week to just 4 days, but do Swedish workers think it’s realistic?

Across the sample, over two in three (68%) say reducing their working week to 4 days would positively impact their wellbeing, with females especially agreeing with this (74%). Furthermore, almost three in five (57%) think they’d be more productive working within 4 days, indicating that workers could be more engaged and produce better work if their week was shortened.

Almost a fifth (18%) would even go as far as saying they would relocate to another country that allowed the 4-day working week if theirs didn’t, indicating the impact it could have on staff retention if it’s implemented.  

Nevertheless, despite a generally favourable view of the 4-day working week not all the Swedish respondents think it’s realistic. Nearly two fifths (38%) say they don’t know how they’d fit their workload into 4 days and half (49%) don’t think their employer would ever go for it.

Digital transformation hopes and fears

In the last year, a rapid shift toward automation in the workplace has sparked conversations around the potential benefits and challenges for businesses and their workers. Simultaneously, businesses are increasingly confronted by a looming threat of a cyberattacks or security breaches.

Compared to other markets, Swedish workers are less likely to report concerns around automation and cybersecurity. Just over a tenth (12%) are worried their role could be replaced by automation compared to almost a quarter (23%) of the European average. Similarly, 13% worry they’ll fall victim to a cyber-attack at work compared to 21% across all European markets.

Despite concerns among the Swedish workers, there are signs of optimism when it comes to advanced technologies. When thinking about how artificial intelligence will impact their organisation, over one in four (28%) Swedish workers think it will be a good thing overall.

Click here to find out more about the Future of Work in other countries.