The best countries for work-life balance

The working day can take up a substantial proportion of our lives, and sometimes finding the time to enjoy what we love in between can be difficult. Legislation and culture can have a lot to do with the way we approach work, so which countries are leading the way for the best work-life balance?

To find this out, a new study by Compare the Market has revealed the best countries for work-life balance based on factors such as average hours worked, maternity and paternal leave, sick pay, and happiness scores. After analysing these factors, each country was then given a combined total score and was ranked accordingly.

Luxembourg and Scandanavia lead the way as the countries with the best work-life balance

For those looking for the best work-life balance, Luxembourg tops the list with citizens working an average of 1,382 hours per year and receiving an average happiness score of 7.404. For dads looking to spend more time with their new-borns, Luxembourg is an extremely attractive country offering paid paternal leave of 28 weeks.

Scandinavia heads up a considerable proportion of the top 10 with Finland, Norway, Iceland, and Sweden ranking. A common theme throughout the Scandinavian countries are their overall happiness scores, with each respectively ranking higher than 7.3, and Finland receiving an overall score of 7.821. The rest of the top ten consists of countries across Europe including the Netherlands, Spain, Austria, Estonia, and Germany.

Slovakia and Finland offer 3 years of paid maternal leave

After having a baby, mothers want to spend as much time as possible with their offspring, watching them flourish and grow. So, with three years of maternal leave in Finland and Slovakia, it means that new mothers can spend a large amount of quality time with their child in their early years, with minimised financial worries.

On the other hand, the United States offers a shocking zero hours paid maternal leave, or paternal leave. The lack of support for new parents, means that the US ranks bottom of the list for work-life balance, with an overall score of 1.158.

Mexico works almost double the hours of Germany

Working long hours, can often lead to burnout and exhaustion. So, finding the right balance is essential for managing wellbeing. For the countries which work the least overall hours, Germany ranks top working just 1,349 hours, followed by Denmark, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands which all work under an average of 1,400 hours per year.

At the other end of the spectrum, workers in Mexico work almost double this at 2,128 hours a year – this is alongside a paid annual leave of just 6 days! These figures are similar to other countries in South America such as Colombia and Chile who also work over 1,900 hours over the course of the year.

In today’s modern culture, many countries work remotely. It can be easy to let your work–life balance stray more to the work side, if you’re not careful. However, research shows that living in a country where people have more time to enjoy life moments or having more opportunities to do the things they love, has been shown to easily increase your overall happiness.

Unfortunately, that is not the option for everyone. So, finding a job that you genuinely enjoy is the key for long-lasting happiness.  Health insurance has also found to be an extremely beneficial item to many workers as some hospital policies include cover for inpatient psychiatric services, while other policies include cover for psychology appointments, which could support your mental wellbeing if you’re having a hard time balancing your work/ life. Alternatively, if you find physical wellbeing more important, you could benefit from an extras policy that helps to cover the cost of gym memberships or fitness classes to improve your stress management.

Whatever you decide to do, it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Remember that everyone’s circumstances are unique, so it is vital that you search around and find the right health insurance policy for you.

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