You all must have heard about the work-life balance but have you ever thought that what it exactly means? Work-life balance is all about the number of hours a person spends at his workplace and the number of holidays he was getting.
Does your work seep into your personal life way too much? Maybe you should get in line and move to Belgium. Workers here enjoy an average of 8.6 hours of leisure per day—which trumps their 7.4-hour work days. Locals really value quality family time, getting home in time for dinner each night and taking a full month-long vacation over the summer to coincide with school breaks.
Many offices in Austria have an 8–5 workday—except for Fridays when employees are encouraged to go home at 3 p.m. Neverending "summer Fridays" aside, the country is also one of the best in the world for folks looking to relocate; according to a recent study, 80 percent of expats in Austria said their work-life balance improved since moving there (compared to the 53 percent global average). We imagine those epic Alpine views maybe helped tip the scales.
The German government has several regulations in place to make sure its citizens don't overwork themselves. ("You will have fun!") Their shop closing law (or Ladenschlussgesetz) strictly regulates when stores open and close each day, with most places shutting down around 6 p.m. and not opening at all on Sundays. And the work-hour regulations (Arbeitszeitgesetz) say you can't put in more than 48 hours a week—or work Sundays or national holidays.
Working on Sundays is outlawed in Luxembourg (exceptions include maintenance and security jobs), which is a government restriction we can totally get behind. The country also scores well in the sleep and vacation departments, with citizens getting an average of 7.2 hours of shuteye per night and a minimum of five weeks paid annual leave—in addition to national holidays.
A country with early afternoon siestas has that whole work-life thing down (naps are proven to increase productivity, btw). If you need another reason to find employment in Spain, how does an annual vacation allowance of 30 days sound?
Tied with Spain, the country spends the most time—9.3 hours per day—devoted to leisure and relaxation. Perhaps that's why cafes seem perpetually full of blissful people with cigarettes or drinks? In 2017, France also introduced a law that allows workers the "right to disconnect" from after-hours work emails.
At first glance, work hours in Finland look pretty similar to those in the United States: Monday through Friday, 8–5. The catch? Their lunch breaks are one to two hours long (perhaps reindeer meat takes longer to digest?). Don't forget that this nation gave its citizens four "Nature Days" to celebrate its 100th birthday outside, so it clearly has something figured out.
Although the Netherlands only give workers nine bank holidays per year, they compensate with the shortest work week of all the countries surveyed (30.3 hours!). Add to that 20 annual vacation days and extremely generous parental leave policies, and you'll wonder how anyone gets anything done. (We're kidding! It sounds wonderful.)
We’ve been envious of the Swedish people for a while now, and their work lives are one of the main reasons. First, there's Fika, a late-morning coffee paired with pastries that offices pause to enjoy every day around 11 a.m. That tradition, paired with 16 months of paid family leave and a whopping 14 bank holidays per year, helped earn the country the no. 2 spot on the list.
Denmark balances salary against cost of living well, and average daily work hours (6.6 per day) way outnumber leisure hours (8.8 per day). No surprise there—this is the home country of hygge, after all. According to World Report, this is also the best country in the world for raising children. Both mothers and fathers are entitled to 23 weeks of parental leave, plus mothers get an extra four weeks of leave before the expected due date.