The way companies address the concept of work-life balance differs upon the country and affects productivity and availability. Understanding it can be key to a smoothiest business.
Family before work The Irish like to think of themselves as hard workers but at the same time «work to live». There is increasing focus being placed on the importance of work-life balance especially in terms of parents’ rights, paid vacation time and flexible hours. Most employees get twenty paid days leave. Outside of work the Irish like to relax by socializing. Go to the pub or watch sports with friends is popular.
Do: make sure you buy a round if invited to the pub.
Don’t: be surprised if the phone is turned off during lunch between 1-2pm.
The economy at work There is a high rate of unemployment and employers can be demanding as competition for positions is so fierce. Although a law has been passed allowing employees a one hour unpaid lunch-break, many do not take it. Most bring a sandwich from home and wait until they go home in the evening to eat again. Working overtime is normal and employees may or may not be paid for this. When they have time to relax, Poles like to spend it with their loved ones.
Do: talk about your life outside work, especially about your family life.
Don’t: be surprised if employees are at work on Saturday. Many people work a half day and leave at 2pm.
A long day’s work Chileans work one of the longest weeks in the world. Legally it has been reduced from forty-eight hours to fortyfive, but many people still work overtime. Most do this because it is good practice and makes them look committed and hard-working. Some workplaces look down on those who leave on time, even if they have no extra work to do. Normal working hours are from 8:30 to 6pm and lunchtime can be up to two hours long. In their free time, Chileans like to host barbecues, go and see films and spend time in the country.
Do: make the most of your lunch break by having a siesta.
Don’t: be late or absent if you can help it.
Live to work Working overtime frequently is expected. Most workers do this out of habit, because of low efficiency or pressure from superiors rather than because it is beneficial to their work. Many employees do not take all of their vacation days and as a result many experience burn out. The government is working to try and improve the situation. One suggestion is that if national holidays fall on Sunday, the «day off» is taken on a working day the following week.
Do: say yes to after-hours with colleagues. Meetings are often continued in bars, and a certain degree of tipsiness is expected.
Don’t: expect flexitime or career breaks. Many women find they have to choose between children and career.
The perfect balance New Zealand has one of the best records in the world for work-life balance. Although Kiwis work eight hours or more a day, they are also reported to be some of the happiest workers in the world. This could be due to the slower pace of life, or to the recognition by employers that employees have a life outside of work. All workers are entitled to a minimum of four weeks paid vacation per year, with eleven extra paid national holidays.
Do: bring your work-out clothes. Many employers encourage exercise before work or during the lunch break and have showers in the office.
Don’t: keep to yourself. Socializing with colleagues is normal and encouraged.
A new way to work For most workers in India the working week is forty-eight hours or six days long with one rest day on Sunday. The concept of work-life balance is very important to young workers. Since young India makes up a third of the population, employers have to start accommodating their differents expectations of employment. They would like to work less, and want to prioritize their personal life over their professional life.
Do: make the most of paid leave. Workers in India get around twelve days per year.
Don’t: expect standard opening hours. Companies might observe numerous religious holidays.