Living the Dream: The 10 Best Countries for Work-Life Balance

Living the Dream: The 10 Best Countries for Work-Life Balance

Work meets play!

In today’s fast-paced world, finding the perfect balance between work responsibilities and personal fulfilment has never been more crucial. Recognising the importance of this balance, conducted a comprehensive study to identify the best countries for work-life balance. 

The criteria for this study are as meticulously chosen as they are diverse, focusing on factors that directly impact an individual’s ability to enjoy life outside of work while still finding success within their career. These factors include statutory annual leave, paid maternity leave and its payment rate, healthcare systems, overall happiness index, minimum wage, average hours worked per week, and LGBTQ+ inclusivity. Sounds good? Read on for the countries that proved to be the best in the world for a healthy blend of work and life.

Also read: How to Balance Your Work and Travel Life

Best countries for work-life balance

1. New Zealand

best countries for work-life balance

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New Zealand takes the spot as the best country for work life balance as per Remote’s study. Kiwis enjoy one of the lowest average hours worked per week while having a high minimum wage rate. If you’re a working mom in New Zealand, you can even get a maternal leave with 26 weeks off and $177 (S$238.95) weekly payment. It’s no surprise that they ranked first in the best countries for work-life balance. With its scenic backdrop, who wouldn’t want to live here? 

Also read: 12 Best Cities & Towns to Live in New Zealand

2. Spain

best countries for work-life balance

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Although Spain is a bustling country, the average hours worked per week is relatively low. Clearly, the Spanish have mastered the art of balancing work with leisure! Even as a tourist, it’s easy to fall into the relaxed culture. 

Not to mention, there’s plenty to see and do in Spain. Sip cocktails by the beach in Ibiza, or get lost in the captivating architecture of Barcelona.  Ready to visit one of Europe‘s most vibrant cultural centres? Paying a visit to stylish Madrid is a must.

Also read: 15 Best Airbnbs in Spain, From Barcelona to Ibiza

3. France

best countries for work-life balance

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Every traveller has dreamt of visiting France, which is why it’s made its way to the list of best countries for work-life balance. The country offers generous statutory leave and boasts an average 25-hour workweek, providing ample room for personal time and a strong focus on enjoying life’s pleasures.

French culture heavily emphasises savouring a leisurely meal or spending time with family; here, you’ll encounter a way of life that truly values downtime. Add to this the country’s world-renowned healthcare system and its picturesque landscapes, and you’ve got a recipe for a life well-lived. 

Also read: 16 Paris Airbnbs With Eiffel Tower Views for Every Budget

4. Australia

best countries for work-life balance

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Australia is often celebrated for its fantastic life-work balance, and it’s easy to see why! With the country’s laid-back culture, emphasis on outdoor living, and strong labour laws that prioritise personal time and flexibility, Aussies have mastered the art of balancing professional achievements with leisure and relaxation. 

Moreover, people are drawn here by the decent minimum wage and a high happiness index ranking, not to mention all the benefits brought by the country’s well-funded healthcare system. Whether it’s hitting the beach after a day’s work, enjoying long weekends exploring natural landscapes, or taking advantage of generous vacation policies, life Down Under encourages a lifestyle where work fuels your adventures rather than consuming them. 

Also read: 14 Stylish Airbnbs in Melbourne That’ll Make You Want to Move There

5. Denmark

best countries for work-life balance

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Denmark consistently ranks at the top when it comes to best countries for work-life balance. The Danish approach to work is all about efficiency within working hours, so there’s plenty of time left to enjoy life’s pleasures. With a strong emphasis on family values, Denmark also boasts generous parental leave policies and a standard 25-hour workweek, ensuring that Danes have ample time for family, hobbies, and relaxation. 

Plus, the Danish concept of hygge — finding comfort and joy in the simple things — permeates their lifestyle, making Denmark a true embodiment of finding harmony between work and personal life.

6. Norway

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Next on Remote’s ranking of countries with best work life balance is Norway. The Scandinavian country places  high value on personal time, prioritising well-being and outdoor activities. Here, it’s common practice to leave work early to enjoy nature or spend time with family. Norway’s robust social welfare system, including comprehensive healthcare and generous parental leave policies, significantly contributes to reducing stress and increasing happiness among Norwegians.

Coupled with a standard workweek of around 26.9 hours and a strong emphasis on equality and inclusivity, it’s clear that Norway has crafted a society where the balance between professional responsibilities and personal fulfilment is not just encouraged, but also deeply ingrained in the way of life.

7. Netherlands

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The Netherlands stands out as one of the best countries for work-life balance, and it’s all thanks to a cheerful and pragmatic approach to life. Known for valuing personal time as much as work, the Dutch have institutionalised shorter work weeks. Employees often work just around 26.9 hours weekly, making it easier to enjoy ample time off to unwind, pursue hobbies, or spend quality moments with loved ones.

The balanced lifestyle is bolstered by strong labour laws that promote flexibility, like the widespread option for part-time work and an office culture that deeply respects the importance of vacation time. The Netherlands’ high-quality healthcare system and focus on cycling and outdoor living also contribute to a healthier, stress-free lifestyle.

Also read: LOOK: The Netherlands Has Placed Cosy One-Person Offices in Open Spaces!

8. United Kingdom

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The United Kingdom offers a promising life-work balance, thanks to its blend of traditional values and modern flexibility. Brits enjoy a standard workweek capped at around 25.6 hours, paired with a minimum of 28 days of paid holiday per year. That means, workers enjoy ample time for rest and adventures! The culture in the United Kingdom encourages taking full advantage of your off hours, whether that’s exploring the rich history and natural beauty scattered across the country or indulging in the bustling city life. 

With the rise of flexible working arrangements and an increasing emphasis on mental health and well-being, the UK is adapting to create environments where professionals can thrive without sacrificing their personal lives. 

9. Canada

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Canada shines when it comes to life-work balance, offering a refreshing mix of work culture and leisure that many find appealing. With an average workweek hovering around 31.6 hours and a generous approach to vacation and parental leave, Canadians are encouraged to make the most of their time outside the office.

The great Canadian outdoors, with its endless landscapes and diverse activities, beckons for exploration and adventure, perfectly complementing the country’s emphasis on health and well-being. Additionally, Canada’s healthcare system and policies around work flexibility further support a lifestyle where personal time and well-being are prioritised.

Also read: 12 Best Cities to Live in Canada If You Want a Fresh Start

10. Brazil

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Capping off Remote’s list of best countries for work-life balance, Brazil’s approach to life-work balance is infused with its vibrant culture and zest for life. Truly, it’s an attractive place for those looking to blend productivity with pleasure! The Brazilian work culture places a strong emphasis on the importance of personal time and family, with national laws supporting this through generous annual leave and public holidays.

There’s also the Brazilian spirit of alegria, which means joy is contagious. In true embodiment of this concept, it’s common to find locals enjoying life outdoors, whether that involves playing football on the beach or enjoying a barbecue with friends.

Also read: 22 Countries With Digital Nomad Visas for Long-Term Workcations

As we’ve journeyed through the best countries for work-life balance, it’s clear that happiness and productivity flourish where there’s a strong commitment to valuing both professional success and personal well-being. Which one are you most interested in visiting? 

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About Author

Anne Mercado
Anne Mercado

Anne is your go-to girl if you want to talk about all things beauty, fashion and adventure. Her creative expression would be through writing and curating photos. Exploring different places and immersing herself in diverse cultures is her idea of fun. If you ask her to describe what her perfect day is, her answer would be by the beach with a book on her hand enjoying a nice margarita.