According to the OECD work-life balance index, the Netherlands came out on the 5th position after Italy, Denmark, Norway and Spain.
What is the work-life balance?
The work-life balance index means how much time you spend doing your job compared to the time spent doing activities outside of work such as personal care, parenting, hobbies, personal commitments, etc. Finding a suitable work-life balance is challenging, especially when you are a parent. Therefore, combining work, family commitments and personal life remains a top priority to stay healthy physically and mentally.
The Dutch working culture
Generally speaking, the more time you spend working at your office, the less time you have to spend on other activities. This is where the Dutch work culture plays a big part. Only 0.3% of employees work very long hours (50 hours or more a week on average), which is the lowest rate in the OECD index, compared to a worldwide average of 10%. This means that full-time workers in the Netherlands spend most of their day on average, a whopping 15.4 hours per day outside of work, doing leisure activities (socialising with friends and family, hobbies, games, tv use, etc.) or on personal care (eating, sleeping, etc.).
Working from home
During the Covid-19 Pandemic, there was a huge surge in the amount people working from home on a full-time basis. However, this is nothing new in the Netherlands. People used to work from home even before the pandemic and this is due to the flexibility of the Dutch employment culture. Working from home is not frowned upon by most employers and becoming more common now than ever. There was big surge also in productivity among employees that work from home, which is the opposite of what was expected when the pandemic started. This means that in the future, it will not be uncommon to see people still working from home, even when the pandemic recedes and normal life resumes.
Sharing the load
Dutch families on average tend to share work responsibilities. This is due to the female work employment rate, which well above average (69.9% in the Netherlands, compared to the worldwide average of 57.5%).
The Netherlands showed an increase from 35% of employment rate among women in the 1980’s which has almost doubled in 2021. However, 61% of women are working-part time, freeing up more time for familial commitments like parenting, as well as taking care of their personal wellbeing.