Stressed at work and at home? Dream of hammock time with a margarita and good book or simply a Saturday afternoon sleep? Want more balance? Surely it’s possible. Head north. Way, way north. To nearly the top tip of the globe.
Denmark has won the gong from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) for being the country with the best work-life balance. The mission of the OECD is to promote policies that “will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world”. They studied work-life balance because “evidence suggests that long work hours may impair personal health, jeopardise safety and increase stress.”
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Their Better Life 2015 Index has crunched the world-wide numbers for work-life balance and found those Northern European countries know a thing or too about calbrating an individual’s work and play needs, while Australia ranked 7th last out of 36 countries. Turkey was the wooden spooner.
Here are the top five countries in terms of work-life balance and … then there is Australia.
In Denmark 2% of the country work very long hours compared with the OECD average of 13%. In Denmark the average worker devotes 16.1 hours to personal care (sleeping, eating etc) and leisure (socialising, TV, computers, hobbies etc) compared to the OECD average of 15. The standard working week is 37 hours with female employment rates high (79% for women aged 25-54). This high work place participation rate contributes to low child poverty rates (3.8%).
Policies in Denmark also provide extensive financial support and leave options to families with young children. This support continues into toddler years with ensuring available childcare places and out-of-school care places (used by around 80% of Danish children aged 6-8).