Overworked? No Way: 10 Countries With the Best Work-Life Balance

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In the age of economic hardship and endless corporate layoffs finding personal time outside of the office is a luxury many have had to forego in today’s overworked culture.  But now, the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has included work-life balance in the Better Life Initiative— its latest well-being index.

Based on data from 34 countries, the OECD chose three indicators to measure work life balance. These include the amount of time devoted to personal activities, the employment rate of women with children age 6 to 14 and the number of employees working over 50 hours a week.

(MORE: Week-On, Week-Off Parenting: Does It Work?)

Not surprisingly, Northern European countries fared better when it came to leaving the office on time. For instance, the Netherlands and Sweden both only have 0.001% of their respective populations regularly working over 50 hours a week.

As for working mothers, the best country to live is Denmark, where 78% of mothers jump back into the workforce after their kids head to school. Turkey is at the other end of the spectrum, with only 24% of women with children also holding down a paying job.

If you’re looking for the most personal time, relocating to Belgium might be a good idea. Belgians have an average of 16.61 hours a day of time off, compared to the combined OECD average of 15.46 hours.

But how did the U.S. do in comparison? It’s good news for America’s working moms, with employment above 73%. To put that into perspective, that’s 7% higher than the OECD average. As for personal care and leisure, Americans devote 63% of their day, or 15.1 hours, to hobbies and taking care of themselves. But when it comes to hours spent at work, the figures show Americans are putting in 1768 hours a year. That’s well over the OECD average by almost 20 hours.

Here are the Top 10 countries with the best work balance.

1. Denmark
2. Norway
3. Netherlands
4. Finland
5. Belgium
6. Switzerland
7. Sweden
8. Germany
9. Portugal
10. France

(MORE: A Crazy 40-Year-Old Experiment Suggests Work-Life Balance Is Possible)

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