To live a healthy and meaningful life, it is very important to maintain good balance between work and life as well as have high mental peace. However, the fast paced and technology driven world of the present era has been making this an exceedingly difficult goal to achieve. Moreover, people today are becoming so much career driven that they are losing touch with their personal self. People today do not have time even for themselves. It is skewing their work and life balance. Nonetheless, there are countries who have been ranked to have best work-life balance and mental peace. This list was created by Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on the basis of three chief variable including the number of hours worked per week, the employment rate for women who have children and the space dedicated to the leisure and personal care.
OECD regarded these three variables for creating this list in particular because the amount of time a person spends at work place tends to influence their work-life balance. There is research evidence that also proves that long hours at work does not only cause disequilibrium in the equation of work and life but also affects personal health by increasing stress and jeopardized safety. Also, the more a person works, less time they will find to spend on leisure activities than can help them distress and enjoy life. It can ultimately lead to poor work performance, dissatisfaction with work as well as life and even psychological burnout.
At the same time, research has also pointed that the amount and quality of leisure time is very critical to the overall wellbeing of an individual as it brings many additional physical and mental health benefits. For instance, it helps in keeping the body physically fit; brings mental peace and satisfaction; allows an individual to develop and sharpen new skills and talents or keep up with the old ones; it brings the opportunity for growth and development as a person; etc. The OECD top 10 countries with the best work-life balance and mental peace have been discussed below:
Denmark, one of the Scandinavian countries, has been rated as the top most country in terms of the quality of work-life balance and mental peace its people get to enjoy. As opposed to the OECD average of 9%, only 2% employees in this country work for very long hours. Also, the full time workers in Denmark are devoting nearly 16.1 hours, i.e. about 67% of their day, on average, to their personal care and leisure which is more than the OECD average of 15 hours. This indicates that the people of Denmark as able to strike a good balance between work and life. Also, because they get sufficient time for personal care and leisure activities, their level of mental peace is also high. The country also has the lowest child poverty rate.
Norway is another Scandinavian country to have made its way to a high place on this list. The country has secured second position. Netherlands stands at the third position in the list. Finland, Belgium and Switzerland have been placed at fourth, fifth and sixth place, respectively. Sweden is one more Scandinavian country in the list of countries with the best work-life balance and mental peace. It has secured seventh position. Germany, Portugal and France stand at eight, ninth and tenth place. The remaining 13 countries on the list include the following in the same order:
- Czech Republic
- Republic of Slovakia
It is quite clear that the list of countries with best work-life balance and mental peace is dominated by countries from Northern Europe as 10 out of 23 nations are of this region. There are countries from central and Eastern Europe as well. A few Mediterranean countries have also successful secured some positions on this list. It is being regarded that the reason for USA coming on 23rd position despite leading the ranking for number of working women with children is perhaps the lack of free time the workers get along with the level of commitment they show toward their work.