Editor’s Note (23 December 2016): Through the end of the year, BBC Capital is bringing back some of your favourite stories from 2016.
I’ll never forget the first time I sat naked, thigh-to-thigh on a wooden sauna bench with my boss. It was week one of a new job with a computer start-up near Heidelberg in Germany. I’m from Scotland, where socialising after work means going to the pub for drinks. I never dreamt it would involve standing outdoors with colleagues, snowflakes falling on my bare skin.
For me it was a seismic culture shock. But in Germany, Holland or Finland it’s not unusual to visit a sauna with colleagues. And in Finland it’s perfectly natural to have seen your boss without a stitch of clothing.