Why are Icelanders so Good at Working Happy?

VikingI'm back from Iceland and I've got some great feedback from everyday working Icelanders. We hear how wonderful other countries' working environments are, but it's not that different from America. They too have problems with...


  • Communication

  • Retention of Employees

  • Motivating Their Staff


It’s not any easier working in Iceland than it is in America, India, or Australia.


They are paid three times as much as we are paid in America, but they also pay three times as much for their food, gas, and other necessities. It really all balances out. It's amazing how a free market does that.


Icelanders live very similar to middle class Americans. They live in average size homes and have extra spending money for the movies, a night out, or mini lobsters, lamb, fresh fruit, and a myriad of other wonderful foods.


My uncle works for an Icelandic computer company and he has a work hiking group that he hangs out with every week. This promotes healthiness and camaraderie. I know that we have these clubs in almost every big company. So why are Icelanders working happy?


I believe the culture of their happiness comes from how they treat each other.


They tease each other and aren’t afraid to laugh at themselves. You may wonder, how does this make them happier? When you can laugh at yourself or a co-worker it eases the tension. They don’t hold on to these emotions. They let it go and just move on to the next part of their day. I know not all Icelanders are this way, but many of them are able to laugh off the stress.


I recently wrote a post called Inside Out Shirt Day. At first I wasn’t sure if I should publish it because I might look like a boob. After a minute of running it through my mind I decided to go for it because I’m not perfect and we should understand that mistakes are a part of work. We should learn from these mistakes, but also be able to laugh at them, so it doesn’t feel like the world is going to come crashing down on us.


I know most of us are capable of enjoying a good laugh at other people's expense, so next time a co-worker makes fun of you, don’t get upset. Why not laugh with them? You'll be harnessing your inner Viking. Just put your ego aside for that moment and let out that laugh. Just maybe you'll feel like a working happy Icelander.


What was the last mistake that embarrassed you? Come on, you know you want to share.