Work-life balance in various countries in Europe was recently covered in the 2023 European Life-Work Balance Index. The index was published by Remote which ranks the work-life balance in European countries to gain an understanding of the countries are achieving the balance of a happy and productive life.
To construct the index, they consider various factors such as healthcare, minimum wage, maternity leave, statutory annual leave, sick pay, happiness levels, working hours and LGBTQ+ inclusivity.
The UK has been ranked seventh in the index.
The Importance of Work-Life Balance
The Cambridge Dictionary defines work-life balance as the amount of time you spend doing your job compared with the amount of time you spend with your family and doing things you enjoy.
Work-life balance is important for our mental health because it allows us to have time for both our professional and personal obligations. When we have a good work-life balance, we are less likely to experience stress, burnout, and anxiety. We also have more time to relax and recharge, which can improve our mood and overall well-being.
There are many benefits to having a good work-life balance, including:
- Reduced stress and anxiety
- Improved mood and overall well-being
- Increased productivity
- Better relationships with family and friends
- More time for hobbies and interests
- Better physical health
In recent years, there has been a growing awareness of the importance of mental health, and work-life balance is now seen as an essential component of a healthy lifestyle. Many companies are now offering more flexible work arrangements and other benefits to help employees achieve a better work-life balance.
2023 European Life-Work Balance Index
The United Kingdom has ranked 7th in the 2023 European Life-Work Balance Index by Remote, a significant improvement from its 28th place ranking in 2022. This improvement can be partly attributed to the UK’s universal government-funded healthcare system (NHS), long statutory maternity leave period (39 weeks), and strong LGBTQ+ inclusivity score.
The UK also offers a mostly good quality of life far beyond the London bubble. England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland each have an individually strong identity and culture, and the country offers a diverse range of landscapes, from rolling countryside and breathtaking coastline to bustling city life.
Here are some of the factors that contribute to the UK’s high ranking in the European Life-Work Balance Index:
- Universal healthcare: The NHS provides free healthcare to all UK residents, which can help to reduce stress and financial worries.
- Long statutory maternity leave: The UK offers 39 weeks of statutory maternity leave, which is one of the longest in the world. This gives new mothers plenty of time to bond with their babies and recover from childbirth.
- Strong LGBTQ+ inclusivity: The UK has a strong track record of supporting LGBTQ+ rights, and the country offers several protections for LGBTQ+ workers.
- Diverse quality of life: The UK offers a diverse range of lifestyles, from rural areas to bustling cities. This means that there is something for everyone, and people can choose to live in a place that suits their needs and preferences.
Work-Life Balance in the UK
According to a report by Randstad, work-life balance is the most important factor that candidates consider when choosing an employer. In their study with UK adults aged 18-66, they found that this preference for work-life balance has remained on top compared to previous years.
The current employer falls short of the ideal employer profile, especially in terms of work-life balance, which is the most important factor for employees. Work-life balance scores only 5th for the current employer, while salary and benefits are evaluated second to last. While this is somewhat expected, it shows that employers are underperforming on the top drivers.
Here are some tips for employers in the UK on how to improve work-life balance for their employees:
- Offer flexible work arrangements, such as remote work, flextime, and compressed workweeks.
- Provide generous vacation and sick leave policies.
- Encourage employees to take breaks throughout the day.
- Discourage employees from working overtime unless necessary.
- Create a culture of work-life balance, where it is acceptable for employees to take time off for their personal lives