Sep 27, 2019
Dreaming Of A Better Work Life Balance ... Which European Country Is Getting It Right?
Work-life balance: we all want it, but why is it so difficult to achieve? Although we’ve have come a long way, there’s still plenty of room for improvement. A 2019 study on the state of work-life balance found that more than 25% of workers take work home to get it done during nights and weekends, and other research found that chronic workplace-related stress is on the rise.
Sometimes it’s not in your hands to change the culture of your workplace, so you may need to make more drastic decisions if you want to enjoy a better work-life balance. In some cases, that means changing your environment and moving to a different country where it’s easier to achieve a good balance between your work life and your personal life. Which ones should you consider?
Top 10 Countries For Work Life Balance
Here’s a list of top 10 European countries for work-life balance. The list looks at factors like average duration of the work day, holidays, and time off.
This Scandinavian country has the shortest average work day in Europe at just over 6.5 hours. Moreover, working parents get generous leave benefits and salaries are high.
Workers here get 14 bank holidays every year and there’s plenty of support for working parents. Not to mention that fika (the Swedish coffee break and a moment to slow down) is part of the work culture!
Third in the list is another Scandinavian country, where workers typically have a lunch break that can last up to 2 hours and enjoy 15 official holidays every year. Recently, Finland made headlines for being one of the best countries in the world for flexible work arrangements.
4. The Netherlands
Holland ranks high in the list best countries for work-life balance thanks to a short work week of just over 30 hours. Workers here devote up to 16 hours / day to non-work related activities.
Being able to disconnect from work-related emails is a right in France, and laws exist to enforce it so workers can ignore those annoying late-night or early-morning emails from the office. And France has had a 35-hour work week since 2000.
Although split shifts are the norm, this also means that long lunch breaks of 2 or 3 hours aren’t unusual. Paid holiday entitlement is 30 days per year, one of the highest in Europe, and that’s in addition to 14 official holidays every year.
Luxembourg has a paid holiday entitlement that ranges between 32 days and 5 weeks, as well as high monthly wages, and an average work week of 33 hours. Moreover, overtime is capped by law to maximum of 8 hours/week.
Sunday work is prohibited in Germany and laws regulate the right to ignore emails and phone calls outside working hours. Paid holidays cover 24 days / year and the average work week lasts 35 hours.
Workers in Belgium enjoy more hours of leisure time than work time (8.6 vs 7.4 according to recent data), and only 5% work long hours. Other perks include an additional month of salary paid as a year-end bonus, and flexitime is widely accepted
Workers here enjoy shorter work days on Fridays, and generous paternal leave is regulated by law. And those based in Vienna enjoy a short work week of approximately 32 hours.
It’s worth noting that with the exception of Spain, countries in this list are also high-income countries, so you don’t necessarily need to sacrifice time in lieu of wages.
Moreover, cities in many of the countries listed here (like Finland, Sweden, Spain, Germany, Denmark, and The Netherlands) are considered co working hotspots, making it easier to adopt flexible working practices that contribute to a better work-life balance.
Co-working may also be an appealing choice as a cost saving. Businesses that are relocating their headquarters to offices in Paris, Stockholm, Amsterdam and other well respected European business hubs has seen the office rental prices surge.
Moving to a different country is an important decision, but it can significantly improve your quality of life. With the uncertainty that Brexit brings it may be time to invest in your well-being and your future by making the move to any of these countries. The rewards are definitely worth it!