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Friluftsliv: The Norwegian Lifestyle That May Boost Work Productivity

10 min read
Last Updated on 21 February, 2023

Scandinavia gives away the vibe of a faraway magical land where the beautiful northern lights appear. The beauty of this region is out of this world. Another aspect of Scandinavia that appeals to the general population is the lifestyle that the natives practice. It is one of the reasons Finland has received the world's happiest country five times straight.

Friluftsliv is a lifestyle concept that is gaining much attention, especially in the corporate world. Before we proceed any further, we believe you need to learn how to spell this term.

Friluftsliv is pronounced free-loofts-liv. Moving forward to the concept of Friluftsliv, you may be intrigued about how it affects work productivity. Most importantly, what does the term mean? Keep on reading to learn more about it.

When it comes to maintaining productivity at work, it requires quite a bit of dedication. Under normal circumstances, productivity is something that comes and goes as per mood and external factors.

So, channeling work productivity at all times involves integrating lifestyle and dietary changes. In addition, one's interest in excelling at work should exist to stay productive. Today, this has become a much needed trait among employees since corporate companies are all about work performance, productivity, and results in a short time.

Are you looking for new ways to boost your productivity at your workplace? This blog may be just the thing you need to read.

At the end of this blog, you will learn the benefits of Friluftsliv, how to adopt this lifestyle, how companies can rope in this lifestyle, and some mind blowing facts.

Let's get started!

What Is Friluftsliv?

Scandinavians are popular as individuals who stay close to nature as a part of their tradition. Friluftsliv, a Norwegian term, translates to outdoor life/open-air living/free-air life/outdoors recreation.

It is an outdoor lifestyle that allows people to connect with nature and breathe fresh air, irrespective of the weather. Adopting this lifestyle means spending time outdoors even if the weather outside is not enjoyable.

Generally, people go out for outdoor activities or plan to enjoy the simple life in nature when the weather is pleasant and cozy. It is something I usually prefer.

The outcome is you feel energized, rejuvenated, and fully charged physically and mentally. Moreover, it is seen that employees who engage in weekend activities are known to have increased productivity at work.

While on the other hand, friluftsliv is more than just spending time out to inhale in the fresh air. Following this Norwegian lifestyle means getting out for any outdoor activities, whatever may be the weather- it may be cold or hot or raining.

If you are curious about how this term came into existence, the credit goes to Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen who apparently created the expression "Friluftsliv" in his poem "On The Heights. He wrote the poem in the year 1859.

Some Activities That Are Considered As Friluftsliv

  • Skiing
  • Rowing
  • Trekking
  • Hiking
  • Camping
  • Cycling in the countryside
  • Plucking fruits from an orchard or picking out vegetables from a farm
  • Swimming (excludes any public or private swimming pool)

Benefits Of Friluftsliv That Will Help Your Work Life

Friluftsliv is believed to have many benefits that can help your personal and professional life. Here are some of the benefits that are worth mentioning:

1. It may boost gross motor skills

Based on the Friluftsliv activity, you may have to use your legs and hands to their maximum capacity. This causes the muscles of your body's core, legs, and arms to strengthen, leading to increased mobility, stability, and toned muscles. Your body will also experience increased blood circulation, making your heart stronger.

This is a much needed aspect, especially for corporate employees who spend maximum hours sitting at their desks. Considering the negative changes in everyone's lifestyle, adopting an active lifestyle like the Friluftsliv may do wonders for your body and mind.

2. It may increase your concentration

Friluftsliv has the potential to optimize your mind and brain. It ultimately contributes to having a better concentration power. Nowadays, almost everyone is familiar with the work culture of the corporate world.

To survive, shine and grow in a career today, you have to possess great communication skills, the ability to work under pressure, and deliver work before deadlines. Last but not least, you should be able to concentrate on your work, be mindful of what your boss says, and so on.

So, how do you increase your concentration power? Try Friluftsliv in your upcoming week off or holiday. Research studies also reveal that spending time for outdoor recreational activities boosts the brain leading to better concentration skills and memory power.

Also read: The Benefits Of Outdoor Activities For Work Productivity

3. It may work as a stress reliever

Stress is part and parcel of life. The only thing you can do is decrease stress and minimize the factors causing you stress.

Adopting lifestyle changes that tend to reduce stress at work is a must. You don't want to get too overwhelmed while trying to meet your work deadlines, do you? In this case, Friluftsliv may help you steer clear of any massive stress.

Why does the concept of Friluftsliv work as a stress buster? Many studies have been conducted to know how time outdoors helps reduce stress. The verdict is when you connect with nature; it simply slows down the release of cortisol, also known as the stress hormone. As a result, you will start to feel relaxed and calm.

4. It may ignite your creative side

Friluftsliv is believed to improve your creative side.

Yes. As mentioned previously, engaging in outdoor activities diminishes stress. In return, you can explore and put your creative side to use. This is most useful for corporate employees who work in the creative field.

5. It may help promote work-life balance

This particular lifestyle is presumed to bring positive energy and feelings, recharging the body and mind. This all, in turn, can help maintain a work-life balance.

You can listen to more on: Vantage Fit Corporate Wellness Podcast

Tips On How To Practice Friluftsliv Well


1. Research your nearby locations

To carry out this Norwegian concept successfully, it is essential to research the possible locations near you worth visiting. It is wise to learn about the places you wish to explore, including the travelers' routes, climatic conditions, etc. Make a list of the places and cite all the details to draw a conclusion.

2. Gear up as per the weather conditions

Gearing up properly is mandatory whenever you plan to explore the wilderness or participate in outdoor activities. There is even a saying in Scandinavia that "there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes." The natives spend time resting, exploring, or having fun, no matter the weather.

The thought process of the Scandinavians is definitely eye-opening and inspiring. Many of us, including myself, struggle to go out when the weather is not accommodating. But when you learn how the Scandinavians tackle harsh weather conditions and still enjoy the outdoor life, it somewhat motivates you to do the same.

So, plan your outfits as per the weather. This way, you will be prepared to overcome any struggle related to bad weather and continue to Friluftsliv blissfully.

Also, take all that is required to have a hassle-free experience. Some essentials include carrying a water bottle, energy bars, a power bank, face tissues, a small knife, and ropes.

3. Plan for the outdoor activities

Even if you wish to go out for leisure, create an itinerary of your activities to make the most of your Friluftsliv. In doing so, your body will get some action properly. At the same time, you will start to feel refreshed mentally. The reason behind this is the release of Dopamine, the happy hormone, which makes you feel relaxed and calm.

This is a fact proved by multiple pieces of research.

4. Improvise your activities

If you are thinking about hanging around nature during winter and there is a possibility of snow, keep your options of activities open. For such locations, keep your cross-country skis handy. And if the situation permits, go for a fun game of cross-country skiing.

5. Try to go in a group

The power of synergy is paramount. If you haven't experienced it yet, you are missing out on something big. Gather a group of like-minded Friends or colleagues. And set out to have a Friluftsliv moment.

Going out in a group may be tiresome for those individuals who usually prefer solo adventures. While one can still choose to try this concept on their own, Frilufts-living in a group is believed to enhance people's bond with one another.

This aspect is especially important to build a strong bond among employees because a strengthened bond between co-workers is known to promote better productivity at work.

6. Expect the unexpected

Expectations are known to disappoint us all. But it is human nature to set certain expectations. Since to Friluftsliv means to enjoy life in the most unusual weather conditions too, you have to expect the unexpected. Be ready to fend for yourself.

7. Be aware

We understand setting out to have a Friluftsliv experience involves disposing of any stress. At the same time, it doesn't hurt to be mindful of your surroundings. Be mindful of your steps, and be aware while performing any outdoor activities. You do not want to get hurt, do you?

8. Spend time away from the digital world

Friluftsliv is the best way to go through a social media detox. We now live in a world where staying away from social media is almost impossible. Moreover, for working individuals, it is advisable to reduce screen time as much as possible.

Friluftskiv is one great opportunity to preserve and safeguard your eye health. So, dear corporate employees, grab your chance to protect your eyes and friluftsliv.

Also read: Social Media Detox: All You Need To Know

How Should Companies Incorporate Friluftsliv In The Workplace?

Friluftsliv is a big deal among the Scandinavian natives. It has such significance that local corporate companies include it in their work policies. There are even B2B companies that offer services related to Friluftsliv. Here is how companies can incorporate Friluftsliv in the workplace:

  • Organize a seminar to spread the word: It is necessary to educate the employees about why they should practice the concept of Friluftsliv. Arrange a crisp but informative session and inspire them to adopt this lifestyle.
  • Offer incentives to employees: Giving incentives is hands down the best way to motivate employees in the workplace. It is a practice that several Nordic companies follow to encourage their employees. Curate an incentivization program, run a trial, and incorporate it if it fits your company.
  • Top management can set examples: Employees always look up to their leaders. To inculcate the zeal to try such a healthy lifestyle, get the top management to practice Friluftsliv once a week.
  • Allow flexible working hours: This is something that most Nordic companies are practicing for their employees to experience Friluftsliv. Employees must be allowed to log off from work sooner so they can go out to Friluftsliv. To keep track of it, employers can request employees to keep a record of their experience.

Interesting Facts About This Norwegian Friluftsliv Lifestyle

  • Did you know? Approximately 1.7 million Scandinavian people are believed to be members of Friluftsliv community groups (local or global).
  • Norwegians love to carry out Friluftsliv during the winter season. Instead of being cooped up within four walls, the Scandinavians prefer to venture out.
  • Companies in Scandinavia have work policies allowing their employees to leave work early and practice Friluftsliv.
  • Playwright Henrik Ibsen popularized the term in the poem "Paa Vidernne," which translates to "On the Heights" in the 1850s. In the poem, the term was used to express the power of spending time in secluded areas and how this action can positively affect one's physical and spiritual wellness.

Also read: Spiritual Wellness: Changing The Dynamics of Corporate Wellness Today

Bottom Line

Maintaining a work-life balance, working productively, delivering all your work on time, and going the extra mile as an employee are desirable traits in the corporate world. However, just like a joy ride, the performance of employees has its highs and lows.

While work comes with its own challenges and stress, life throws many more challenges affecting your personal life. As a result, keeping a work-life balance becomes tricky. This is where a lifestyle like the Friluftsliv may help you stay ahead of the game in life.

Life is short, and no one can regain their lost time. All one can do is live life to the fullest while doing their best at work.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which country practices Friluftsliv?

Norway practices the Friluftsliv lifestyle. It is an age-old Norwegian tradition.

How do you pronounce Friluftsliv?

Friluftsliv is pronounced free-loofs-liv.

What is the Danish term for outdoor living?

The term "Friluftsliv" is used to describe the act of outdoor living.

Why do Scandinavians love nature?

Scandinavia has a deep-rooted love and respect for nature. It goes back to their age-old traditions and customs that have taught them to stay connected with nature.

This article is written by Supriya Singh who is a content marketer at Vantage Circle. Writing is how she keeps her creative side ignited. An avid dog lover. Loves to cook and binge watch TV shows. To get in touch, reach out to editor@vantagecircle.com

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