Meetings and appointments in Finland

Meetings and appointments in Finland

It is important to note that you should arrive at any business meeting on time. That doesn’t mean to say that the Finn will always be there and ready to see you, but s/he is more often than not. However, punctuality is seen as a virtue, though a few minutes either way is not seen as detrimental.

Office hours are generally 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, Monday to Friday, and business meetings might well take place from 8:30 or 9:00 in the morning. Good manners would dictate those afternoon meetings should be arranged to finish by about 3:30 in the afternoon so that people have the opportunity to make last minute phone calls before the end of the working day.

People like to clear their desks and leave a little early on a Friday afternoon, so you need to finish promptly if you see anyone then. It shows respect for their work-life balance. The Finns do work hard; they work conscientiously and many works beyond 4:00 pm. It is not uncommon to find people still at their desks at 5:00 or 5:30 in the evening.

Opening Hours

  • Banks are open from 9:00 am to 4:15 pm, Monday to Friday.
  • Post offices are open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Mondays to Fridays.
  • Both are closed Saturdays.
  • Office hours are from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, Monday to Friday.
  • The majority of shops are open from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, Monday to Friday, and 9:00 am to 3:00 pm on Saturdays.
  • Larger shops such as department stores are open until 8:00 pm, Monday through Friday, and 4:00 pm on Saturdays.
  • As alcohol can only be bought in the state-owned Alko shops. It might be worth noting their opening hours: 9:00 am to 8:00 pm, Monday to Friday, and Saturdays from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm.

You will be served coffee, tea, and pastries at whatever time of day you visit. There will be a very small amount of ‘small talk» because you are a foreigner. You can then get straight down to business with a no-nonsense approach. If there is an agenda, it will be followed efficiently.

You may be invited to stay for lunch which will be in the company restaurant-cum-canteen. No alcohol is served. Most people drink water or milk, possibly fruit juice. Lunch, even though it may be three courses, will be light as Finns do not like to over-indulge. In true egalitarian fashion, everyone clears away their dirty plates and leaves the table clean and tidy for the next users.