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Monday's papers: Finland's office re-entry, childless by choice and protecting a minority language

People in Finland are thinking about returning to the office, but what will that look like?

Melko tyhjässä toimituksessa kaksi ihmistä.
An employers' lobby says the shift to a hybrid world of work will mean different things for different people. Image: Henrietta Hassinen / Yle

Large companies in Finland are planning for a return to the office, according to business daily Kauppalehti.

Finland's remote work recommendations are set to end in mid-October.

Finnish employers' lobby EK told KL that instead of a mass return to the office, company teams will decide on the optimal mix of contact and remote work.

"Companies won’t be issuing blanket return-to-office policies for employees," said Markku Rajamäki, an adviser at EK.

No kids, please

Helsingin Sanomat explores why a growing number of couples in Finland are saying no to parenthood.

"Before effective contraception, you just had kids. By the 80s and 90s people talked about how many children they wanted. Today the question among those in their 20s is whether they want to have them at all," Venla Berg, director of population research at the Family Federation of Finland (Väestöliitto), told HS.

The paper noted that while people often put off having children in the midst of economic uncertainty, many told the paper they were never interested in having children in the first place.

The federation has reported that 12.3 percent of respondents in its most recent family survey from 2018 said their ideal number of children was zero.

Minority in a majority

Most new schools under construction for Swedish-speaking pupils will be housed inside Finnish-language institutions, reports Swedish-language daily Hufvudstadsbladet.

Studies indicate that bilingual schools do not erode the minority Swedish language, according to Fritjof Sahlström, an education expert at Åbo Akademi.

He, however, noted that bilingual schools will have to make a conscious effort to truly serve both languages. This means that beyond teachers, cleaning and cafeteria staff must also be able to communicate in Finnish and Swedish, according to Sahlström.

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