The UK & Sweden

The United Kingdom

The United Kingdom consists of Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) and Northern Ireland. It is a constitutional monarchy with a representative democracy and it has approximately 63,7 million inhabitants. The UK is one of the European Union’s 28 member states. It has a permanent seat in the United Nation’s Security Council and it is a member of the G8, NATO, WTO and the Commonwealth.

It is the world’s fifth largest economy with dominating finance and service sectors. London is one of the leading finance districts in the world. With good job opportunities it attracts large numbers of people from around the world every year.

Facts

Government: Parliamentary Democracy and Constitutional Monarchy
Prime Minister: Mr Theresa May, The Conservative Party
Head of State: Queen Elizabeth II
Population: 63,7 million
Area: 244,820 km. (94,526 sq miles)
Population Density: 261 people per km. (659 per sq. mile)
Capital: London
Official Language: English
Currency: GBP (Sterling)
Dialling code from abroad: +44

Business Hours

General

As a rule, business in the UK starts later in the day and also finishes later than in Sweden. There is very little flexible working time in the UK and shorter hours during the summer months are almost unheard of.

Weekdays

Most business is carried out between 09.00 and 13.00 and between 14.00 and 17.30. Banks are normally open from 09.30 to 16.30 and some are open on Saturday morning. Shops are normally open from 09.00 to 17.30, Monday to Saturday, and stay open for late night shopping at least one evening a week.

Sundays

Many shops are open on Sundays, especially in the big cities.

Holidays

Summer Holidays

August is the main holiday month in the UK. Most schools, however, start their summer holidays around 20 July and it is best to avoid planning any business trip for six weeks from that date onwards.

Christmas and Easter

It has become more and more common for business people to extend their holidays around the Christmas/New Year period and especially around Easter.

Bank Holidays

Other than the above holiday periods there are also Bank Holidays. These take place during the the first and last Monday in May and the last Monday in August. Businesses are closed during this time. 

Sweden

Geographically Sweden is one of Europe’s largest countries. However, the country has a relatively small population of 9.5 million inhabitants. Most people live in the southern, urban areas within the three largest cities; Stockholm, Göteborg and Malmö. Sweden is known for its natural beauty with large forests, mountains and lakes. It is a modern welfare state and it is famous for clean and simple design and environmentally friendly attitudes. Sweden has many natural resources, hence the mining and heavy industry. Other dominant sectors include IT and web design.

Facts

Government: Parliamentary Democracy and Constitutional Monarchy
Prime Minister: Mr. Stefan Löfven (Social Democrats)
Head of State: King Carl XVI Gustaf
Population: Approximately 10 million
Area: 449,964 km. (173,732 sq mile)
Population Density: 23,4 people per km. (60 per sq mile)
Capital: Stockholm
Official Language: Swedish
Currency: Swedish krona, SEK
Dialling code from abroad: +46

Business Hours

General

Business hours in Sweden differ noticeably from those in the United Kingdom. There is widespread use of flexible working hours and most offices work shorter hours during June, July and August.

Weekdays

Business normally starts around 08.30 (sometimes earlier). Lunchtime is between 12.00 and 13.00. Normal closing time is 17.00 and during July and August is 16.00. Banks are open from 10.00 to 15.00 and are closed on Saturdays and Sundays. Most banks stay open until 17.30 once a week. Shopping hours are 10.00 to 18.00; Saturdays 10.00 to 15.00. Some of the major department stores are open until 20.00. In the big cities, the shopping hours are 10.00 to 19.00; Saturdays 10.00 to 16.00 and Sundays 12.00 to 16.00.

Sundays

In Sweden more and more “corner shops” and some major department stores (especially food departments) are open on Sundays – normally between 10.00 and 18.00 and in the big cities 10.00 to 23.00.

Holidays

Summer Holidays

Schools close for the summer holidays in early in June and do not reopen until the end of August. Most companies have summer hours, closing around 16.00. The most popular holiday month is July.

Christmas and New Year

The Christmas period begins with Lucia in the early hours of 13 December, and lasts until the Twelfth Night. Depending on the calendar, most offices are closed between 23 December and 7 January, others open part time between the three major holiday days; Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and the Twelfth Night.

Winter Holidays and Easter

Business people very often take their holidays to coincide with the various school breaks or half-term holidays. In February and early March (depending on where in Sweden) all schools have one week “sports leave”. Some schools also have a one week holiday starting on the Monday before Easter, others have their holidays during the week after Easter.