Top 10 Countries for Work-Life Balance

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stress-441461_1280Working long hours, not enough time to sleep, spend with your family or friends can lead to an unhealthy work-life balance. That’s an issue that is being addressed by tech giants Google, Apple as well as other companies and now governments are providing flexible hours in order to have a productive and efficient workforce.

Here is a list of the top 10 countries that achieve a suitable balance between working and living from the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development,  currently comprising 36 member countries from developed and emerging markets). Key indicators used were share of employees working long hours (50 hours or more per week), time devoted to leisure and comparing the scores with respect to gender.

10. Luxembourg – Many a traveler have dubbed it ‘boring’ but the landlocked Western European nation with a population of just over half a million and a GDP per capita of $110,000 has a workforce that spend 15.1 hours per day devoted to personal leisure and only 3.5 per cent of its workforce working long hours, average across the OECD is 13 per cent.
Dunlewy_mountains_Ireland9. Ireland – The home of Guinness beer and lush rolling hills has a higher gender inequality than Luxembourg with 7 per cent of men working longer hours compared to 2 per cent of women, and 4 per cent of the entire workforce spending more than the 50 hours at work. They come out ahead of Luxembourg with 15.2 hours spent a day dedicated to leisure and spent equally between genders.

 

 

Russian Ballet Olga Esina8. Russian Federation – The world’s largest nation bordering Asian and European countries as well as the Pacific and Arctic oceans holds the number 1 rank with only 0.2 per cent of its workforce working very long hours. No surprise as there is enough entertainment on offer ranging from magnificent ballet productions to terrific museums and a thriving nightlife in the capital.

 

 

7. Germany – 64 per cent of full time workers devote their day to personal care and leisure (15.3 hours), with only 5 per cent of employees working long hours (8 per cent men compared to 2 per cent women). Reform has attempted to address gender inequalities with the fertility rate at its lowest since 1983 as more women postpone childbirth raising the average to currently 30 years to have the first child. Gender pay gaps at 16.5 per cent are higher than the OECD average, and for the work-life balance to improve Germany needs to and is addressing serious barriers to the female labour market.

stockholm-442348_12806. Sweden – Only 1.1 per cent of employees work long hours, ranking it third out of 36. And 15.1 hours spent on leisure almost hits the average across the OECD (average 15 hours). The government’s recent launch of a smartphone application called “My Pages” has been very successfully received as it offers easy access to parental benefits. Now temporary (paid) leave from work when having to remain home with an ill child can be applied for online and adoption of the app has been staggering.

 

Norway5.Norway – Bordering Sweden geographically as well as on this list, Norwegians spend a healthy 15.6 hours on personal care and only 2.8 per cent work very long hours. Norway scores highly in international comparisons of material well-being but also in other fields, such as community, environment and safety and overall life satisfaction. The Norwegian model of a relatively egalitarian society, where social consensus and a high degree of inclusiveness are important in accounting for the high scores. Not only is wage inequality relatively low in Norway, redistribution through the tax and benefit system is also substantial.

4. Belgium – The Belgian Federal Public Service Social Security has challenged conventional ways of working which resulted in being named as the best employer. Practices have included allowing workers be in charge of their work life as in, how, when and where they work and being judged by results. Home working and/or desk sharing has resulted in savings of more than 6 million euros in office space and savings of more than 50 per cent on office furniture expenditure and printing costs. Belgians spend 15.7 hours on leisure per week, leaving plenty of time to enjoy their famous beer, waffles, chocolate or fries.

IMG_60313. Netherlands – Employees working long hours are almost inconsequential at 0.4 per cent only second to Russia and 15.4 hours of leisure time ranking it 5th among member states. High literacy levels, low youth unemployment as well as a 93 per cent above average life satisfaction of 11-15-year-olds, coupled with high fertility rates, low unemployment and Dutch couples sharing responsibilities lead unsurprisingly to a happy country. Young Dutch women are more educated than the OECD average as well as young Dutch men, resulting in higher female employment from one of the lowest rates to over 70 per cent, but much of this has been part-time, common among employed mothers leading to stunted career growth and under utilising of skills.

5815110255_e65e66b0c0_o2. Spain – Having gone through a very tough period economically over the last few years, Spaniards still find the most time among OECD members to devote to leisure time at 16.1 hours. Just 5.9 per cent of those employed work long hours well below the OECD average. It has been suggested that Spain should strengthen its policies to allow families to combine work and family life, female rates of fertility have languished for two decades among the lowest in the OECD at 1.3 children per woman. Men and women alike have attempted to establish themselves in the labour market before considering childbirth, this has seen a rise in female employment at 51 per cent, commendable but still falling short of the OECD average at 57.5 per cent.

Denmark1. Denmark – Offered a job in Denmark? You may want to take it as they rule the roost in combining a work-life balance. Danish policies have extensive financial support for those with families and provide family-friendly workplace practices. Public spending on family benefits amounts to 4 per cent of its GDP, compared to 2.6 per cent on average across the OECD. The litany of support for parents includes, 18 weeks of paid maternal leave, two weeks paid paternity leave (policy discussions are asking for reform that has yet to be delivered on increasing paternity leave so its on par with Iceland and Germany), followed by 32 weeks of paid parental leave. Entitlement to formal childcare when the child is six months old, and 66 per cent of participation when the child is not yet three years of age the highest among member states. Denmark has lower standard working weeks at 37 hours per week, higher female employment rates and better gender equality within the labour market. Gender employment gaps and gender payment gaps among the lowest among the OECD has led to Danish being satisfied with their working and personal lives.

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Reading Time: 4 minutes

Working long hours, not enough time to sleep, spend with your family or friends can lead to an unhealthy work-life balance. That’s an issue that is being addressed by tech giants Google, Apple as well as other companies and now governments are providing flexible hours in order to have a productive and efficient workforce.

Reading Time: 4 minutes

stress-441461_1280Working long hours, not enough time to sleep, spend with your family or friends can lead to an unhealthy work-life balance. That’s an issue that is being addressed by tech giants Google, Apple as well as other companies and now governments are providing flexible hours in order to have a productive and efficient workforce.

Here is a list of the top 10 countries that achieve a suitable balance between working and living from the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development,  currently comprising 36 member countries from developed and emerging markets). Key indicators used were share of employees working long hours (50 hours or more per week), time devoted to leisure and comparing the scores with respect to gender.

10. Luxembourg – Many a traveler have dubbed it ‘boring’ but the landlocked Western European nation with a population of just over half a million and a GDP per capita of $110,000 has a workforce that spend 15.1 hours per day devoted to personal leisure and only 3.5 per cent of its workforce working long hours, average across the OECD is 13 per cent.
Dunlewy_mountains_Ireland9. Ireland – The home of Guinness beer and lush rolling hills has a higher gender inequality than Luxembourg with 7 per cent of men working longer hours compared to 2 per cent of women, and 4 per cent of the entire workforce spending more than the 50 hours at work. They come out ahead of Luxembourg with 15.2 hours spent a day dedicated to leisure and spent equally between genders.

 

 

Russian Ballet Olga Esina8. Russian Federation – The world’s largest nation bordering Asian and European countries as well as the Pacific and Arctic oceans holds the number 1 rank with only 0.2 per cent of its workforce working very long hours. No surprise as there is enough entertainment on offer ranging from magnificent ballet productions to terrific museums and a thriving nightlife in the capital.

 

 

7. Germany – 64 per cent of full time workers devote their day to personal care and leisure (15.3 hours), with only 5 per cent of employees working long hours (8 per cent men compared to 2 per cent women). Reform has attempted to address gender inequalities with the fertility rate at its lowest since 1983 as more women postpone childbirth raising the average to currently 30 years to have the first child. Gender pay gaps at 16.5 per cent are higher than the OECD average, and for the work-life balance to improve Germany needs to and is addressing serious barriers to the female labour market.

stockholm-442348_12806. Sweden – Only 1.1 per cent of employees work long hours, ranking it third out of 36. And 15.1 hours spent on leisure almost hits the average across the OECD (average 15 hours). The government’s recent launch of a smartphone application called “My Pages” has been very successfully received as it offers easy access to parental benefits. Now temporary (paid) leave from work when having to remain home with an ill child can be applied for online and adoption of the app has been staggering.

 

Norway5.Norway – Bordering Sweden geographically as well as on this list, Norwegians spend a healthy 15.6 hours on personal care and only 2.8 per cent work very long hours. Norway scores highly in international comparisons of material well-being but also in other fields, such as community, environment and safety and overall life satisfaction. The Norwegian model of a relatively egalitarian society, where social consensus and a high degree of inclusiveness are important in accounting for the high scores. Not only is wage inequality relatively low in Norway, redistribution through the tax and benefit system is also substantial.

4. Belgium – The Belgian Federal Public Service Social Security has challenged conventional ways of working which resulted in being named as the best employer. Practices have included allowing workers be in charge of their work life as in, how, when and where they work and being judged by results. Home working and/or desk sharing has resulted in savings of more than 6 million euros in office space and savings of more than 50 per cent on office furniture expenditure and printing costs. Belgians spend 15.7 hours on leisure per week, leaving plenty of time to enjoy their famous beer, waffles, chocolate or fries.

IMG_60313. Netherlands – Employees working long hours are almost inconsequential at 0.4 per cent only second to Russia and 15.4 hours of leisure time ranking it 5th among member states. High literacy levels, low youth unemployment as well as a 93 per cent above average life satisfaction of 11-15-year-olds, coupled with high fertility rates, low unemployment and Dutch couples sharing responsibilities lead unsurprisingly to a happy country. Young Dutch women are more educated than the OECD average as well as young Dutch men, resulting in higher female employment from one of the lowest rates to over 70 per cent, but much of this has been part-time, common among employed mothers leading to stunted career growth and under utilising of skills.

5815110255_e65e66b0c0_o2. Spain – Having gone through a very tough period economically over the last few years, Spaniards still find the most time among OECD members to devote to leisure time at 16.1 hours. Just 5.9 per cent of those employed work long hours well below the OECD average. It has been suggested that Spain should strengthen its policies to allow families to combine work and family life, female rates of fertility have languished for two decades among the lowest in the OECD at 1.3 children per woman. Men and women alike have attempted to establish themselves in the labour market before considering childbirth, this has seen a rise in female employment at 51 per cent, commendable but still falling short of the OECD average at 57.5 per cent.

Denmark1. Denmark – Offered a job in Denmark? You may want to take it as they rule the roost in combining a work-life balance. Danish policies have extensive financial support for those with families and provide family-friendly workplace practices. Public spending on family benefits amounts to 4 per cent of its GDP, compared to 2.6 per cent on average across the OECD. The litany of support for parents includes, 18 weeks of paid maternal leave, two weeks paid paternity leave (policy discussions are asking for reform that has yet to be delivered on increasing paternity leave so its on par with Iceland and Germany), followed by 32 weeks of paid parental leave. Entitlement to formal childcare when the child is six months old, and 66 per cent of participation when the child is not yet three years of age the highest among member states. Denmark has lower standard working weeks at 37 hours per week, higher female employment rates and better gender equality within the labour market. Gender employment gaps and gender payment gaps among the lowest among the OECD has led to Danish being satisfied with their working and personal lives.

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