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What is work-life balance?

Denmark is world-famous for its work-life balance. In fact, expats view it as the number one reason for moving to Denmark, according to the 2020 Expat Survey. But what exactly does work-life balance mean? And how can you achieve it?

Defining work-life balance 

The Cambridge Dictionary defines work-life balance as “the amount of time you spend doing your job compared with the amount of time you spend with your family and doing things you enjoy.  

For many, however, a perfect “50-50” balance is hard to attain. Instead, work-life balance has to be defined by individual needs and preferences.  

“For me work-life balance today translates to having enough flexibility to do things right and focus on delivering quality at work, but also spending plenty of quality time after work is done,” explains Constantin Vidu, an expat from Romania who only found the right balance after his move to Central Denmark.

You soon realize that one complements the other and the Danish work environment is amazing for giving you enough opportunities and challenges to make the above possible.” 

Andy Grantham, who moved to Central Denmark from Scotland 20 years ago, views it as balancing enjoyable work and a fulfilling family life: 



The Danish way 

While many countries and companies are just starting to realize the potential benefit of encouraging work-life balance, Denmark has been preaching the philosophy for years.  

Stop by a Danish office at 5pm and nearly every desk will be empty. While the Danes are hard workers, they try hard to get the job done within the official 37-hour work week, which was introduced in 1990For more than 30 years, it has been the norm to leave work in time for hobbies, family and relaxation. 

This focus on balance and flexibility is reflected in an OECD study comparing 37 countries, where Denmark ranks 3rd for work-life balance: 

  • Only about 2 % of employees in Denmark work very long hours compared to the OECD average of 11 %. 
  • Women have better opportunities to pursue a career alongside family lifeAround 72 % of women in Denmark have paid jobs outside the home, far above the OECD average of 59 %. 

Finding your work-life balance 

There is no special recipe for achieving harmony between your work and private life – and what works for me won’t necessarily work for you.  

But by securing a flexible work environment, Denmark provides plenty of opportunities to create and enjoy a great degree of work-life balance. Here, roughly three out of four employees in the tech and digital sectors are happy or very happy with their work-life balance, according to the Digital Talent Global Work Happiness Index. More generally, almost nine out of ten expats are satisfied, or very satisfied, with their work conditions, according to the 2020 Expat Study.  

Finding a work-life balance that works for you starts with finding a job that supports just that. If you want to try the Central Danish work-life balance for yourself, then check out these vacant positions or sign up for our career newsletter and join us! 

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