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Work-Life Balance: the countries that are leading the way

May 10, 2022

How much time of your week do you spend working? The amount people spend (not) at the office is one of the most important aspects of a healthy work-life balance. According to the OECD, “evidence suggests that long working hours can harm personal health, compromise safety and increase stress.” 

A recent report shows that 10% of employees work 50 hours or more per week in paid work. Overall, more men work very long hours in paid work; the percentage of male employees working very long hours in paid work across OECD countries is almost 14%, compared with about 6% for women.

The study found that, among all members, people in Italy have the best work-life balance. Only 3% of employees in the country work more than 50 hours a week. Denmark, Norway, Spain and the Netherlands complete the top 5, while the US ranks 29th because more than a tenth of people have long working hours.

“The more people work, the less time they have to spend on other activities, such as personal care or leisure. The amount and quality of leisure time is important for people’s overall well-being, and can bring additional physical and mental health benefits. A full-time worker in the OECD devotes 63% of the day on average, or 15 hours, to personal care (eating, sleeping, etc.) and leisure (socialising with friends and family, hobbies, games, computer and television use, etc.). Fewer hours in paid work for women do not necessarily result in greater leisure time, as time devoted to leisure is roughly the same for men and women across the 22 OECD countries studied”, says the Index.

Governments and organizations can help to address the issue by encouraging supportive and flexible working practices, making it easier for parents to strike a better balance between work and home life.

Source: OECD