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European country has the ‘best’ work-life balance – but not everyone agrees



European country has the ‘best’ work-life balance – but not everyone agrees

Work-life balance is essential for mental health, relationships and productivity, giving people the time they need to enjoy life outside of their careers. However, in many countries, work-life balance is almost non-existent, with some nations offering workers very little in the way of mandatory time off.

One European nation, however, has been ranked highly for its “work-life balance” and has been recommended for those who want to relocate overseas and enjoy life outside of work a little more.

Experts at William Russell looked at several countries in Europe and analysed factors such as the average hours worked, to reveal the countries with the lowest working hours and days.

Based on their research, the experts concluded that Germany is the nation with the “best work-life balance”, with employees working an average of 1340.9 hours annually, equating to 178 days a year – 500 fewer hours than the highest-scoring country, Greece.

“Having so few working hours per year gives parents much more time to relax, spend time with their families, or simply take care of all those pesky household tasks,” said William Russell’s experts.

Work-life balance is a key aspect of German work culture and it is common to hear that Germans are good at healthy equilibrium between work and personal life.

In Germany, citizens get a minimum of 20 days off work, according to the Federal Holidays Act, along with generous maternity and paternity cover and a myriad of public holidays.

However, a report by The Local in 2022 suggested that not all Germans were happy with the work-life balance they were experiencing.

A survey commissioned by Novotel, which collected responses from 5,000 adults across Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Poland, found that respondents from Germany were least satisfied with their work-life balance, with 58 percent work and only 42 percent leisure time.

In comparison, British people reported devoting 55 percent of their time to work and 45 percent to their personal lives. In Poland, this figure was split exactly down the middle at 50/50.

Posting to Reddit, a UK expat explained the difference between the working culture in Germany compared with their experience in the UK. They said: “In comparison to the UK, I work less, get paid more and have better social security. On paper, these two countries have similar worker protection. However, in Germany, I see this far more strictly followed, for example, everyone on my site clocks in and out and has a work hours account whether they get paid by the hour or are salaried office workers.

“This kind of thing prevents the classic ‘hours are nine to five but we expect people to be at their desk by 8:30 and if something needs to be done by end of the day that means 12 midnight’ that’s common in the UK.

“Since the above behaviour isn’t typically tracked in the UK, it can’t be regulated either.

“My example is only anecdotal though, I’m sure not every German company is paradise to work for and not every UK company is so bad. But in general, it fits for people whose experiences I’m aware of.” [SIC]

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