Manage your time and you have your Swedish career sorted. But also make sure you understand what your Swedish colleagues have in mind when they speak to you about time. Even those who speak English may use directly translated terms when referring to different parts of the day.
Vecka | Week
Vecka means week, but not only that. This is how Swedes count time, in weeks. Activate the week number function in your calendar, because you will be asked to join meetings Tuesday week 14 or Friday week 39. Also keep track of jämna veckor (even-numbered weeks) and udda veckor (uneven-numbered weeks) as you may have a project meeting on Wednesdays udda veckor, or a colleague of yours may have to leave early to pick up their child on jämna veckor.
Dygn | A period of 24 hours
Swedish has two days for ‘day’: dag, meaning the part you are awake, as opposed to the night, and dygn for the day and the night combined: 24 hours.
Morgon | Early morning
When Swedes use the word ‘morning’, they usually refer to the very beginning of the morning, the part spent at home getting ready for the day.
Förmiddag | ‘Forenoon’/mid morning
As soon as Swedes come into work in the morning, it is no longer morgon but förmiddag. This is the part of the day when the day has started, up until lunch.
Mitt på dagen | Midday
Midday would be somewhere between 11 and 1 pm, and this is usually when your Swedes colleagues will take their lunch break. Usually, this happens earlier in the day than on the continent.
Eftermiddag | Afternoon
Most Swedes would say that the afternoon begins after lunch, around 1 pm, and ends between 4 pm and 5 pm.
Kväll | Late afternoon, evening, night
Kväll is the moment you are back from work, the time you spend with your family and have your dinner. Most Swedes will have their dinner quite early, between 4.30 and 7 pm, although this of course varies between individuals and their life situation. The kväll is over when you go to bed, or when you are supposed to go to bed.
Natt | Night
Natt is similar to the English ‘night’ but only refers to the part of the night you are asleep (or should be). The point up until then is kväll.
14.30 | 2.30 pm
The 24-hour clock is standard in Sweden.