The international work environment - what it takes?

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An international work environment is helpful and challenging for both expats and locals. 

Pellegrino Riccardi, one of Scandinavia's top cross-cultural experts and inspirational speakers, gives a sneak peek into the topic before his talk on December 4.


Motivation is a highly popular topic. Based on your experience and observations, what is an effective way to stay motivated in the long term?

Much of the answer lies in the root of the word ''motivation'', which comes from Latin and means TO MOVE. As long as you keep things moving, keep yourself active, busy, productive and positive about your work and your life, things will sooner or later fall into place. Also, keep a good answer in your head to the question ''WHY?''. Why am I doing the job I do? Why am I living in the country I live in? Why am I in the relationship I am in? We need to have good answers to these questions to keep the fire of motivation alive. If you don't have good answers to these questions, FIND THEM!


Which specific characteristic of the Norwegian workplace is challenging for expats?

Norway is an extremely network country where there is a sense of ''everyone knows everyone else''. The saying goes that in Norway everyone knows somebody who knows the Prime Minister :) What this means for expats is that it can be difficult to break through these tight circles of friendships, even as work. You may be getting on really well with a colleague and then they just ''disappear'' at 4 o'clock! My suggestion to expats is to sign up for activities such as sports clubs, social groups, voluntary work. Also, if you are a parent, one of the best ways to get to know Norwegians is through the many school meetings and activities that are arranged all year round. You will probably bump into that colleague of yours at one of these meetings and he/she will have the perfect reason to include you in the group.


What are the advantages and disadvantages of a cross-cultural work environment?

The disadvantages are that it makes work more complicated because there is a higher risk of misunderstanding and disagreement. The main advantage is that it forces you to see the world through the cultural spectacles of the other person. I truly believe that diversity in the workplace enriches a workplace when it is managed properly. 


In your opinion, is the international workplace more motivating and exciting? Please elaborate.

Yes, it is. Any challenge or adversity that one overcomes makes you wiser and stronger. I will say more about this in my talk.


What is most important for a successful work environment?

I will talk about exactly this in my presentation, but I could mention two elements now. The first is honesty. The honesty of communication, clarity, the ability to say it as it is. It just saves time. But this direct style of communication is not equally acceptable around the world. Second, a feeling that you belong in a work environment. There is no greater pain to the human condition than a sense of being alone, of not fitting in. Loneliness is a killer - literally!


How to best deal with conflicts in an international workplace?

Patience and a willingness to understand the positive intentions of the other person. Also, a sense of RE-SPECT...that's not a spelling mistake; RE (again) + SPECT (to look)...look again, that's what respect actually means. It doesn't necessarily mean to agree or to accept, just be willing to look again from another perspective. Also, saying to yourself  ''Do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy?''. Again, I will elaborate on these points in my talk.


What makes a great work environment where everyone is happy, motivated, their most productive and best selves?

If I answered this question,  I would be giving away the main points of my talk! Let me say for now that there are 5 basic human needs that need to be in place in order to create vibrant work environments :)




Vyara Løvig, Marketing Coordinator


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