When it is thought about working hours, a typical routine emerges in our heads — starting at 9 in the morning, finishing right when the clock ticks 5 in the evening; the rest of the hours being spent leisurely without the interference of work, right? Well, realistically, things are not in black and white. A survey on 1000 British, Us, German, Irish, and German employees and employers revealed that an average person checked the work-related at 7:42 a.m., came to the workplace at 8:18 a.m., and departed at 5:48 p.m. In addition, one in five workers checked the first email at 7 a.m., while the last work email stretching as late as 11:30 p.m.
A decent work-life balance is defined as the state where an individual is able to keep a good balance between his work and personal life. When it is about an organization’s influence on the work-life balance of its employees, it is measured in terms of average hours of work, flexibilities, holidays, and other incentives. According to the Deloitte Millennial Survey of 2017, organizations that imparted a healthy working culture happened to have their employee’s productivity better than those who did not by eighty-one percent.
Following is the ranking, by InterNations, of top ten countries offering the best work-life balance; the ranking is comprised of the interviews of 13000 expats residing in 188 regions.
With an average of 43.9 working hours per week, Malta just falls short on the global average of 44.3 hours. Nonetheless, people report the above-average satisfaction with respect to the working hours and work-life balance. In particular, they complement the abundance of opportunities here with decent pay. 52 percent acknowledge that they earn enough to fulfill their everyday needs, in contrast to the 48 percent global average.
96 percent of the expats living in Oman work full time—constituting the highest percentage of all the top ten countries. Moreover, it has an average of 43.5 hours of work per week as compared to the global average of 44.3 hours; however, the workers don’t seem to complain about it.
More than 67 percent are satisfied with the work-life balance and 70 percent are content with the working hours. Overall, only 60 percent are happy with the job, which could be as a result of inadequate satisfaction with the career prospects here.
In the Netherlands, only 0.5 percent of the employees work extensive hours — the lowest percentage in The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). As for the average working hours per week, employees here work 2.3 hours less than the global average. Expats especially appreciate the hassle-free working conditions and good quality of life. In a nutshell, 75 percent of the expats are satisfied with the work-life balance in the Netherlands.
Workers in Costa Rica spend an exact amount of average hours per week as the global average of 44.3 hours. Regardless of these long working hours workers spend, a majority feel unfulfilled to cover the essential daily needs. 42 percent of the expats believe that they earn lower than they would do back home doing the similar job. Despite everything, 68 percent are contended with their work-life balance as compared to the 60 percent global average.
Sweden is famous for the impressive quality of the life people spend here generally. So is the case when it comes to work-life balance: 69 percent are happy. In addition, 77 percent are satisfied with their working hours, spending an average of 42.3 hours per week. Despite the contentment with the job security and career prospects, only 60 percent are pleased with their jobs overall.
Full-time workers in New Zealand spend nearly 14.9 hours on personal care and leisure—a figure which is slightly lesser than the 15-hours-average of OECD. However, expats residing in here regard to the working lifestyle as “laid-back and friendly”. Full-time workers in New Zealand spend an average of 42.3 weekly hours at work. In spite of spending 2 hours less than the global average at work, the average yearly income is the highest among the top 10.
The Czech Republic
Although expats in the Czech Republic work the longest (44.9 hours) out of all the 10 countries, they are satisfied with the working hours and work-life balance. Many concede that their employers offer impressive incentives, vacations, healthcare facilities, and flexibilities. Furthermore, the satisfaction with the career prospects and job security is also the highest among the top ten countries.
It is widely acknowledged that the jobs in Norway are family-friendly; the employers impart work-life culture by keeping the personal life of the employees under consideration. The full-time worker in Norway spends an average of 15.6 hours on leisure and personal care—more than the OECD average of 15 hours. In addition to this, 72 percent of expats believe that they earn more in Norway than they would in their own country doing the similar job. Individuals in Norway spend an average of 42.9 hours per week on work.
Bahrain is considered one of the popular countries to move for work-related reasons. Workers consider it to be satisfying in terms of work-life balance and working hours further admitting that they find substantial time to relax after a day of work. Indeed the most popular reason for it being a satisfying location for work is the splendid pay it offers to the workers. The average number of hours workers spend here in a week are 42.9
Out of the top ten countries, the full-time workers in Denmark contribute the least number of hours weekly: an average of just 39.7 hours. On top of it, 76 percent of the workers in Denmark rate their work-life balance positively. In addition, their “flexible Job” policy supports the workers who can contribute less number of hours, by paying them on the work done effectively.
Work-life balance is a significant factor that contributes to the happiness of a human. However, human happiness is not defined in necessarily defined in terms of temporary joys. Happiness is a sense of fulfillment, good relationships, healthy lifestyle, and decent productivity; therefore, often we work long hours to cater for a happier and meaningful life. But sometimes we are just stuck in a cycle of endless work to feed entities such as social status or luxurious lifestyle, and when we finally find ourselves released, we often realize that we missed the moon while counting the stars.
According to the recent findings of Project Timeoff on the state of American vacations, 52 percent of the US employees in 2017 left a massive total of 705 million unused vacations. These alarming figures make us really ponder what we really work so hard for, and if we need to reconsider our priorities.