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Danes have the best work-life balance in the world thanks to these three key beliefs.

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By the end of her first week living in Denmark, Helen Russell was worried about her husband’s new job.

In an article she wrote for The Stylist, she explained that she was convinced Rego had already fired him because he kept coming home early.

Originally from the UK, Russell was used to the work habits of her home country, where late nights and long hours were considered a badge of honor. When her husband first came home from her work in the early afternoon, she felt surprised and embarrassed. She was just beginning her days as a freelance writer.

The trend continued, and by Friday, her husband was walking down the hall by 2:30 p.m., which she said was not reflective of his work ethic. In Denmark, it turns out that cutting back on working hours is exactly what people are doing.

Photo by Jonathan Knackstrand/AFP/Getty Images.

This healthy work-life balance is such an important part of Danish culture that even the country’s official website boasts about it.

This is a source of great pride for Denmark, which is known as the happiest country in the world. The government requires a 37-hour work week, designated lunch breaks, minimum Flexible schedule with 5 weeks of paid vacation, extended and paid parental leave, work-from-home options and childcare incentives. On average, Danes spend less than a third of their time working, but they are still more productive than most countries in the European Union and the United States.

You may be wondering, “What’s the problem?” But the truth is that Denmark’s approach to work-life balance is driven by Danish values ​​and national attitudes.

Photo by John Olaf Nesbold/AFP/Getty Images.

1. Danish workers can be trusted to get any job done.

Photo by Jonathan Knackstrand/AFP/Getty Images.

Generally, people want work.They are want To do a good job. However, many people mistakenly believe that others are lazy by nature, that work reflects our moral values, and that time equals productivity. (But in reality, many of the jobs that exist today are not very productive.)

So what if instead of finding a way to pass the time until the clock struck 5 p.m., you just did what you had to do for work and called it a day? What if you were? empowered How to take personal responsibility into your own hands, rather than relying on a manager lurking in the corner to intimidate you into physically spending time at your desk?

That’s what Denmark is doing. Russell writes that one of her Danish friends explained to her, “Come on, come on Cinderella hour, or home time.Everyone goes, from the receptionist to the CEO. We are trusted to do a good job. Please do our job. Then we leave.“Maybe that’s how they accomplish so much?

2. Family is obviously important, but Danish culture actually encourages you to value your family, and everyone else respects that.

Photo by Jonathan Knackstrand/AFP/Getty Images.

Russell’s experience is that in Denmark, it’s common to list things like childcare pick-ups and other family errands on a digital calendar for other people to see. There’s no shame in prioritizing family. (Even if you don’t have a family, you’re entitled to the same freedoms.) Childcare is also tax-deductible in Denmark, and the state provides maid services and pensions for the elderly.

This focus on families also applies to the country’s approach to education. Teacher Stephanie Lambert, also a British immigrant, says that rather than having an exam-based schooling system, Denmark is “very child-centred, which leads to well-rounded and engaged children.” “I’m there.”

The country’s focus on shorter work hours allows educators to invest in the individual needs of students as individuals, rather than focusing on one-size-fits-all success. As a result, Danish children are instilled with the same values ​​from an early age. It will be ingrained in them by the time they join the workforce and the same values ​​will be inherited.

3. Danes also recognize that work and play should not contradict each other. Everyone, employees and bosses alike, can benefit from a little R and R.

Photo by William West/AFP/Getty Images.

More work means more stress, which increases health problems and reduces work performance. Perhaps that is he one of the reasons Danes are spending so much less on health care?

Research shows that vacations make our brains more creative. That’s why vacations should not be treated as a rare commodity, hoarded like gold for distant future rewards, or used to cover other personal matters. People in Denmark receive a minimum of five weeks of paid vacation and actually use it without fear of shame or social stigma.

This is a simple truth that many Danes, from day laborers to high-level executives, recognize. Happy workers are better workers. “We believe that everyone has the right to be respected, from the CEO to the administrator,” Danish psychotherapist Iven Sandahl told The Local. “We teach our children to focus on the good in themselves and others, not on status or labels.”

The Danish work-life balance model proves that time and productivity are not the same, and that treating people well is actually better for everyone.

Indeed, some believe that the secret to Danish happiness is actually lowering expectations. But being humble, realistic, and grateful isn’t such a bad thing.

In any case, the Danes proved that a healthy moderation of work and leisure is more than just good health. Possible, But that is quite preferable Forcing people to live to work and work until they die. Perhaps it’s time for the rest of us to follow their example.

This article was first published on November 23, 2016.

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