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What it’s really like working in Oslo, Norway

Norway is considered one of the best countries for work-life balance, as well as one of the most gender equal countries in the world. Read perspectives from around the world on what it’s really like working in Oslo, Norway.

Although Neonomics is a Norwegian startup, we have been pretty international from the get-go. Over the last 3 years, we have welcomed more than 15 nationalities to our growing team! As we continue to expand our team, we expect that number to grow even more.

Some of those joining Neonomics were already familiar with Oslo and life in Norway; for others, it was a totally new experience. We decided to put together a little overview on life in Oslo, in particular working and living in Oslo, with help of a few different perspectives from those that have made the move (from London, New York City, Mumbai and Lima).

Neonomics summer kick-off — boat trip through the Oslo Fjord

What do some of our internationals say about working in Oslo compared to what they had experienced before?

“My commute is infinitely better in Oslo, not having to be like a tinned sardine on the tube and the commute is a quarter of the time. Another plus of working in Oslo is that after work within 30 minutes on a bike I can be in awesome nature. That’s a big plus for a keen cyclist like me. Something that Oslo lacks is post work drinks. Suggest the idea of an after work drink on a Monday, people will think you’ve lost the plot.” David — London, UK

“Overall, life is more simple and relaxed compared to NYC. You have plenty of fresh air and nature on your doorstep. The Labor laws are strong and very consistent, which provide employees a lot of support. The only major downside for me is losing access to a diverse variety of food and goods, although this is improving!” Taka — New York City, US

“I feel great that during my 20s I got the chance to live and work in a Bustling Metropolis of Mumbai, but I feel great about the fact that I moved to a city (Oslo) which very much compliments my lifestyle. Mumbai is a big city and you often don’t find affordable housing near the workplace, which accounts for a long and tiring commute on a daily basis. Whereas in Oslo, I can leave my house 15 mins prior to a meeting and still make it on time :) I’m pretty happy to state that so far I’ve had the perfect work-life balance during my time in Oslo. Finally, Oslo is much closer to nature. I remember taking a 2+ hour long cab ride in Mumbai whenever I wanted to cycle between trees and open hills. The city had to come up with a dedicated park because the rest of it is completely urbanised. Thankfully, in Oslo we have green fields, parks and nature close to almost all places and I really enjoy such surroundings.” Shiksha — Mumbai, India

“It’s easier to be on time in Norway. Traffic in Lima is a nightmare and such a waste of time! Office hours are very dynamic here in Neonomics, and the employee time in the office is very well respected, with overtime being compensated in one way or another. I love the forest, so being able to finish my work and having great forests accessible with public transport after work is amazing. In general, the rights of the employees in Norway are well respected by the company, and there are some key features that remain relatively consistent across companies.” Alexandre — Lima, Peru

Neonomics winter kick-off in the mountains! — Hafjell, Norway

3 characteristics of Norwegian working culture *Note: these can vary slightly from company to company!

Flat structure

Norwegian culture in general is big on equality and having flat, non-hierarchical structures. The Norwegian term Janteloven is not directly translatable into English, but emphasises putting society ahead of the individual and that an individual should not think ‘they are better than others’. This provides a culture that is built on a high level of trust rather than hierarchy, resulting in employees having more autonomy.

Work-life balance

Norway is also considered one of the best countries for work-life balance. As well as that, Norway frequently ranks as one of the top most gender equal countries in the world. Although the Nordics in general are known for their work-life balance and shorter working hours, the Global Productivity report revealed that the Nordic region is actually the most productive in the world.

Employment benefits

It’s not unusual to have lunch provided for at work as well as other benefits for all employees. The benefits range depending on the company, but at Neonomics we have a delicious canteen available, weekly yoga classes, 7% pension, stock options, health insurance, fun company trips such as our ski trip kick-off in the mountains, and of course hot/cold drinks and snacks available throughout the day.

What about Oslo outside of work?

Oslo is a unique city in that it is located by the ocean, making it a perfect place for the long Norwegian summers, and smaller ‘mountains’ providing beautiful viewpoints over the city and easy access to ski over the winter. Many capital cities have a certain ‘feel’ to them, however, Oslo has a variety of neighbourhoods with different ‘feels’ to them to suit all types of preferences. Check out Grunerløkka for an edgy and industrial district, Frogner for its classic old buildings, and Barcode for a modern architectural skyline. Oslo was Europe’s Greenest Capital City in 2019 (in terms of carbon footprint), and also has a remarkable amount of nature for a capital city. If you don’t speak Norwegian yet, have no fear, Norwegians are amongst some of the best English speakers. Supposedly, Norwegian is the easiest language for an English speaker to learn! Oslo’s international community is growing substantially each year.



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