Scandinavian countries beat Britain on good work-life balance

work-life balance
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Denmark and Sweden sit at the top of the list for finding the perfect work-life balance while the UK came in at an unlucky 13th position

New research by TotallyMoney has found out which European countries are the happiest with the right amount of work-life balance.

The research showed that Denmark and Sweden work less hours each week compared to other countries, have a good number of bank holidays and holiday allowance, and plenty of time dedicated to leisure each day.

Working less and spending more time on leisure seems to be working too – as both countries are less stressed and sit at the top end of the scale in many reports for happiness.

The report indicated that countries coming out on top mainly came from the north due to adapted working hours to fit around shorter days and lack of sunlight.

A spokesperson at TotallyMoney said: “It’s important whatever business you’re in to make sure you get some downtime, for personal time and for spending time with family.

“But it looks like the best place to go to really get a balance is northern Europe.”

The top 5 positions went to:

  1. Denmark– The northern country was the top scorer for happiness and fared exceedingly well on average salary against cost of living, time devoted to leisure, and hours worked.
  2. Sweden – Sweden scored similarly to Denmark, but had a much higher amount of average time worked in a week – by 3.5 hours! They did, however, have three more bank holidays a year.
  3. The Netherlands – The Netherlands topped the results for their low number of hours worked in a week, averaging only 30.3 in total. They did, however, suffer a lack of bank holidays, with only 9 in a year, the second lowest in all of the countries studied.
  4. Finland – Finland’s low productivity meant that although they have one of the better results for working hours (though more than other countries in the area), their commitment to the work itself means they’re giving almost too much focus to their leisure to achieve a good balance.
  5. France – The most southern city to enter the top five, France’s strong point was their hours dedicated to leisure and personal care each day – 16.4 (including sleep), the highest across all the research. Their happiness index score was limited compared to the other countries at the top end of the scoring, however.

However, some southern countries such as Spain came in at 6th place for obvious reasons.

United Kingdom

Far from the bottom holding the 13th position out of 24, the UK could have done better having 28 days of holiday allowance, the second highest in the research.

However, data shows that productivity in the UK is limited, less than that of France or Ireland.

The UK also had a 13th position on happiness, winning out over many other major European powers, including France, Spain, Italy, and Greece.

Portugal fell to the bottom of the list, perhaps due to their low salary compared to their high cost of living, for which they also scored the poorest.


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