Countries with Best Work-Life Balance: 2021 Worldwide Map

Work-life balance refers to how one’s lifestyle divides between work and other aspects of one’s life. An excellent work-life balance model incorporates a reasonable division of time between professional and…

Last Updated On September 27th, 2021
Countries with Best Work-Life Balance: 2021 Worldwide Map

Work-life balance refers to how one’s lifestyle divides between work and other aspects of one’s life. An excellent work-life balance model incorporates a reasonable division of time between professional and home life. 

Well aware of the importance of work-life balance, we gathered data from various sources to find out which countries offer employees the best conditions to achieve a balanced work-life or otherwise, focus more on working hard.

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Work Life Balance Global Map

Top 10 Countries With Best Work-Life Balance:

  1. Sweden
  2. Portugal
  3. France
  4. Iran
  5. Syria
  6. Madagascar
  7. Austria
  8. Comoros
  9. Iceland
  10. Denmark

Europe is popular with their working benefits and generous vacation leave. The European Union’s Working Time Directive guarantees EU workers at least 20 paid vacation days each year. Some European nations demand greater vacation time; for example, the United Kingdom, France, Austria, Denmark, Finland, Luxembourg, and Sweden all need 25 or more paid annual days of leave. According to OECD research, taking more time off does not have to imply decreased output. On the contrary, Europe has some of the most productive countries in terms of GDP per hour of work. Thus, it’s not surprising that 7 out of 10 countries with the best work-life balance are in Europe

Among them, France has the least weekly minimum working hours. Workers in France are only required to work at least 35 hours. Iran has the most national holidays among these ten countries, with 27 national holidays.

Asia & Pacific Region: Top 5 Countries with Best Work-Life Balance

  1. Syria
  2. United Arab Emirates
  3. Australia
  4. New Zealand
  5. Afghanistan

Despite only having 9 national holidays, Australian laborers only work a minimum of 38 hours a week, and they have 20 days as minimum annual leave. 

Europe: Top 5 Countries With Best Work-Life Balance

According to recent research conducted by Rosemary Crompton and Clare Lyonette City University, Scandinavian nations regularly rank first in the continent for work-life balance. These are the top five nations for people seeking to add a bit more leisure to their life:

  1. Sweden
  2. Portugal
  3. France
  4. Austria
  5. Iceland

South America: Top 5 Countries With Best Work-Life Balance

Looking at the South American top 5 countries with best work-life balance, we list down:

  1. Cuba
  2. Brazil
  3. Saint Kitts and Nevis
  4. Chile
  5. Panama

Africa: Top 5 Countries With Best Work-Life Balance

Africa is often associated with poverty and a low living standard. 36% of the entire continent’s population lives in extreme poverty, and 90% don’t even have a formal home. 

While most African countries still fall low on the chart of developing countries, when we talk about the top 5 countries with the best work-life balance, no doubt, these are the countries that have gone the extra mile in terms of living conditions, professionalism, and many other areas. 

The top 5 countries in the continent with the best work-life balance are:

  1. Madagascar
  2. Burkina Faso
  3. Congo
  4. Chad
  5. Guinea

Top 10 Most Hardworking Countries:

Mexico

Seychelles

United States

Malaysia

Nicaragua

Fiji

Costa Rica

Thailand

Paraguay

Singapore

Except for the U.S, the top 10 hardworking countries lie in 3 regions:  Asia, Africa, and South Africa

Seychelles has a very high weekly working hour of 60 hours. Thailand and Mexico both have the lowest minimum annual leave of 6 days. Although the working hours of Singapore employees are 44 hours/week, which is on average level, their number of holidays and Minimum annual leave is low:  Employees in Singapore get 7 holidays in a year, and their minimum annual leave is 11 days.

Countries with Most Public Holidays:

Countries with the Most Public Holidays

Top 10 countries with the most national holidays:

 

  1. Myanmar
  2. Russian Federation
  3. Iran
  4. Nepal
  5. Sri Lanka
  6. China
  7. Egypt
  8. Thailand
  9. Chile
  10. Cambodia

Does Hard-Working Mean More Wealth? 

GDP Ranking Chart

Many individuals throughout the world work longer hours. Among other things, cultural views, workplace regulations and customs, and socioeconomic variables impact how many hours people are required to work. The world’s hardest-working countries are not usually the wealthiest. From our analysis:

The U.S the only example of working hard will generate more wealth. They’re in the top 3 hardest-working countries and have the highest GDP.

However, except for the U.S, no one in the top 20 most hardworking countries is in the top 10 in terms of GDP. Ten out of 20 most hardworking countries do not even lie within the radius of the top 100 countries with the highest GDP. 

Seychelles is the second most hardworking country globally but only stands at 192nd position in terms of GDP ranking. 

 

Work-life balance, Wealth, and Happiness

Work-life balance, Wealth, and Happiness

Can you live happily without money? Well, that’s a tough question.

Work-life balance entails devoting focus to different aspects of one’s life, such as job, family, friendships, and personal development. This “balance” of worklife and personal life generates an intrinsic sense of meaning and purpose, connection, and enjoyment.

However, this balance is just one piece of a big picture. 

We analyzed happiness ranking and GDP ranking of the top 20 countries with best work-life balance and found out:

  • Russia and Iran, despite high ranking in terms of GDP, seem to be unhappy.
  • In contrast, Iceland, Luxembourg, and Lithuania people seem to lead a happy life without much wealth. 
  • In other countries, the formula “wealthier = happier” and vice versa is still applicable. 

Methodology

We researched 3 different factors contributing to work-life balance: 

  • Normal Weekly Hours Limit 
  • Number of National Holidays 
  • Minimum Annual Leave

To standardize our results for each factor, they have been evenly ranked between 0-10. The lowest possible score is 0, and the highest possible score is 10. Here is the formula we used to get our results:


Score (i) = 10 . ( ( ( x(i) – x(min) / ( ( x(max) – x(min) ) )

The final score is calculated by: 

Final Score (i) = Number of National Holidays Score (i) + Minimum Annual Leave Score (i) – Normal Weekly Hours Limit Score (i) 

Fair Use Statement

Please share this initiative with anybody you know who could benefit from our findings. The visuals and information are free to use for non-commercial purposes. All we ask is that you link back to this website so that readers get all of the information they need, and we get due credit. 

References

https://www.ilo.org/travail/info/publications/WCMS_235155/lang–en/index.htm

https://www.qppstudio.net/worldwide-public-holidays/country-portal.htm

https://datacatalog.worldbank.org/dataset/gdp-ranking

https://worldhappiness.report/ed/2021/


About the author

April Mayer has a degree in exercise physiology and is a firm believer in the power of a good night’s sleep. April’s passion lies in helping others lead more productive lives by helping them get sound, restful sleep every night. April primarily writes about foods and vitamins for better sleep and has written several “better sleep guides” covering a wide variety of topics in her time with Early Bird.

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