Work-life balance: which countries get it right?

 

Happy workers are better workers. So which countries are hitting the right balance between productivity, satisfaction, and work-life balance, and what can other countries learn from the happiest ones?

 
Illustration by  Eddie Stok  for Are We Europe

Illustration by Eddie Stok for Are We Europe

 

Why care about work-life balance?
In a culture obsessed with startups and self-made overachievers, it may be hard to see why letting work “become your life” is a bad thing. Those who are passionate about what they do willingly erase the barrier between the two (and write books about it). But for most of us, the pressure of a job combined with the natural urge to outperform colleagues in the workplace, leaves us no choice but to put in long hours.

While professional accomplishments can certainly help our sense of self-fulfilment, the limits of how hard we can (physically) work do not always match up to our corporate ambition. While we may feel invincible in our coffee-induced euphoria, work-related sleep deprivation and stress have been extensively linked to various physical and mental disorders. The danger is real: earlier this year, burnout was officially recognised as a “medical diagnosis” by the World Health Organisation. So beyond causing nuisance on the long-awaited family vacation, that one guy who’s always on the phone “for work” is actually ruining his health. Rest is as much of a necessity as hard work is a virtue. Anyone interested in sparing their employees—or themselves—from a full-on meltdown should take note.

Want to keep reading?

This story was written in collaboration with Welcome to the Jungle. Visit their website to keep reading.

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This article appears in Are We Europe #5: Code of Conscience


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