Back from a wonderful trip to Europe after visiting Germany, Amsterdam and London it was amazing to see how other people live in their respective countries. First and foremost, a huge observation we made was the frequency of cell phone and laptop use by Europeans vs. Canadians and for that matter Americans. I can honestly say, I saw more people on their laptops and cell phones in the Calgary airport during a lay over than I saw the entire time I was away over a 12 day period.
Businesses close from 12-2 each day as a standard practice for lunch breaks, businesses close by 6pm in the evening. People are laid back, easy going but still very focused on future goals, passions, education and personal interests. Walking down the street it is common practice to see people having a casual alcoholic beverage in between their work shifts. The overall mentality of many Europeans is work to live and not live to work. There is a strong understanding that bigger is not always better, life and family and friends are important, not the status of your position, the car you drive or the clothes you wear. Passion and excitement and connections are what is important. I must say it was refreshing, eye opening and somewhat life changing…as cliche as that may seem.
Being in the Human Resource field it is always tug of war between increasing company prosperity and maintaining employee engagement; after my trip to Europe it has definitely opened my eyes to a new way of looking at things. Now obviously I realize different European markets function and are driven differently and major centers can be more “North American” in work mentality than perhaps the smaller centers but from my somewhat brief experience and from speaking to local residents, it is clear there is a substantially different mind-set than what we are perhaps used to.
What we think is right just might not be the best way of doing things