Brits enjoy one of the best work-life balances on the planet, according to new study

The UK offers one of the best work-life balances in the world according to a new study by office designers, Diamond Interiors, with typical British office workers getting among the best deals when it comes to working hours and annual leave allocations.

Exploring the typical work-life of employees both pre and during the pandemic, the study also unveiled the nations who had lost the most working hours during the period, with the UK once again featuring highly.

  • Sweden tops the list for the best work-life balance, with the UK coming in fourth
  • France has the best typical weekly hours with 35 being the official figure
  • UK, Germany and Greece lost the most working hours during the pandemic
  • Russia recorded the most working hours during the pandemic as well as the last six years
  • The Mediterranean countries have the longest lunches 

Brits enjoy 18 more days annual leave than Japan and the US

Across the 15 countries analysed, the UK has one of the best annual leave entitlements with 28 days, coming second behind Finland which offers 30 days. Japan and the US have 10 days.

For the five years pre pandemic, the UK makes the top five list of countries with the least average weekly hours recorded with 29. That’s almost 20 hours below the maximum weekly working hours specified by the government. 

However, when it comes to public holidays, the UK doesn’t fare as well, being on par with Russia and slightly ahead of Australia at the bottom of the list with eight. Japan comes out on top with 16 public holidays. 

Sweden leads the way for work-life balance

It was Sweden that pipped the UK to the top spot when it comes to the best work-life balance. The Nordic country averages around 28 working hours per week, with a typical hour lunch break, 10 public holidays, and 25 days of annual leave entitlement.

Iceland closely follows with a weekly average record of 29 hours over the five years pre pandemic, a typical one-hour lunch break, 14 public holidays, and 24 days of annual leave entitlement. 

Top 5 countriesTypical weekly work hoursAverage weekly hours recorded (pre pandemic)Lunch break (hours)Annual leave entitlement (days)Public holidays (days)

UK, Germany and Greece lost the most working hours during the pandemic

The UK, Germany, and Greece all lost four hours per week on average during the pandemic compared to the five years prior, equating to 208 hours lost in a year.

On the flipside, Russia recorded the most working hours during the pandemic (36), just two per week fewer than the previous five year average, and 10 per week higher than the UK.

The USA was the only country to keep average working hours per week (34) the same as the previous five years during the pandemic, whilst Iceland, Sweden, Finland and Australia only lost one hour per week on average, still equating to around over a week’s worth of work.

For the full analysis, head to:

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