The Worst Places for Work-Life Balance
Last week we took a look at what management styles could be in the world of Millennial executives. One of the main things that I hope will change is the notion of a decent work-life balance, especially for workers in America. Compared to the rest of the world, the United States ranks rather mid-pack when it comes to having a life outside of one's career -- and it's quite surprising which countries can be found on both ends of the spectrum.
Statista took a look at countries that have the best work-life balance and the worst work-life balance based on data from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and found some pretty interesting results.
You may be wondering, why is this relevant on a finance/economic blog? Well its quite important to global economies that their workers aren't killing themselves to complete mundane tasks and a happier people ought to imply better economies and lower hostilities. The most important aspect for a healthy work-life balance is the amount of time people spend (not) at work. The authors of the Better Life Index note that "evidence suggests that long work hours may impair personal health, jeopardize safety and increase stress."
The index scores rank 0-10, with 0 being the worst and 10 being the best, and the composite score is based on a variety of indicators such as working hours, time for leisure, personal time, and employment rate for mothers.
According to the OECD, people in Turkey have absolutely no work-life balance whatsoever as they ranked "0" on a scale of 0-10, and Mexico doesn't have much of a work-life balance either with a score of "0.8" (is it any wonder why they immigrate). Near the bottom as well are the hard-pressed countries like South Korea and Japan who are constantly working to keep up with other major global economies. The United States ranks roughly in the middle at 5.8 -- the same score as New Zealand and slightly better than Australia's 5.4
On the other hand, the places with the best work-life balance are found in Northern and Western Europe...yet even Russia ranks 3 points higher than the US in this balance. In the Netherlands, only 0.5 percent of employees work very long hours (50 or more hours a week), and results in the lowest rate in the OECD, where the average is 13%.
In comparison, some 11% of American employees work very long hours, so the United States doesn't make it in to the top ten ranking. Overall, the US ranks 30th out of 38 considered countries, and it is the only OECD country without a national paid parental leave policy - although three states do provide leave payments.
I predict that these numbers will be driving factors for Millennials to improve management styles and ultimately the economy. We should be living to work not working to live...this is in our future, so focus on investing in companies that embrace these values.