Do you have work-life balance? Probably not.
The United States trends very poorly when compared to other countries when it comes to having a life outside of work. The average American spends 40 percent of their day dedicated to their job. That number is on top of the average American working more than 50 hours per week. These stats, compiled for OCED’s “How’s Life” survey, put the USA squarely outside the Top 25 countries in the index.
Sometimes it’s better to look at how other countries do it. Take Sweden, for example. The Swedes are second on the OCED index for work-life balance. They spend more than 15 hours per day in leisure or sleeping. About one percent of Swedes works more than 50 hours a week.
Sweden’s work culture, as it pertains to work-life balance and families, is far different than the United States. While many companies are now experimenting with flex hours, it’s pretty much the norm in Sweden. Companies often require workers to be at work from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. or 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., for example.
If you’re a parent in Sweden, you can take the day off when your child is sick. The state also reimburses you for 80 percent of your lost wages. All this comes on top of parents getting 480 days of paid leave for each child you have. Those days off can be split any way you choose. Sweden also has a leave program to encourage fathers to take more time off.
Stockholm and other cities in Sweden use the flexible work schedules as leverage to attract the best workers. A Stockholm official told The Guardian that the city and its employers have been able to use the work-life balance benefit of family and career to attract highly educated workers.
While salaries are always important when it comes to jobs, Sweden is another example of why benefits are so important. Remote work, flex time and commuter benefits are all benefits that directly impact employees’ lives.
Employees save up to $265 per month in commuting costs with commuter benefits, which can be used for public transit, rideshares and qualified parking. Meanwhile, employees can save on the reduced payroll taxes. If you have 50 employees enrolled in commuter benefits, you can save $24,000 annually, for example.