Posted by David Moore on June 2nd, 2021.
2021 is fast shaping up to be far more promising than last year, with Covid-19 vaccines offering a way to cautiously reopen economies the world over.
The pandemic has led to many of us reassessing our work-life balance and what changes we should make after restrictions eventually end.
One way people are think about is making the change is moving abroad to find the work-life balance for them. Whether it’s looking for a different working culture or shorter working hours, many are planning to take the leap and work abroad.
Here we will explore some of the best countries for striking the balance between working life and leisure.
New Zealand has always been a British expat’s favourite and for good reason. Although work is not often their priority for moving to New Zealand, this is all set to change.
New Zealand is emerging relatively unscathed from the Covid-19 pandemic thanks to an early and efficient response to the initial warning signs.
A recent survey taken by Stats NZ revealed that 76% of Kiwis were satisfied with their work-life balance, and this would generally translate to any expat moving to New Zealand for work reasons. Why? Because 91% of the respondents said they had great relationships with their managers and colleagues. Life, in New Zealand, is for living.
World renowned for its generally laidback and friendly approach, New Zealand is fast becoming a hub for expats seeking a getaway from the nose-to-the-grindstone approach of busier – but not necessarily any more productive – nations.
One New Zealand company, Perpetual Guardians, have also recently trialled a four-day working week to improve the work-life balance of its employees. The company’s internal survey revealed that over 70% were happy with the decision.
Finally, with New Zealand government policy emphasising wellbeing and the health of communities, not solely on GDP and economic growth, the work-life balance in the nation is likely to improve.
Norway boasts diverse landscapes from forests, mountains, and arctic tundra to its distinctive coastline of fjords, islands, and fishing villages.
Added to that, Norwegian is a relatively easy language to learn if you’re English as it’s a Germanic language, with a lot of words being similar.
Many expats in Norway are also satisfied with the work-life balance, with Expat Insider revealing that 72% are happy with their working lifestyle and 77% pleased with their working hours.
One of the drawbacks of Norway is that the cost of living can be quite high, with rent in a city being around £1200 to £990 for an apartment. However, in smaller towns you can get far more spacious two-bedroom apartments for about the same amount. Eating out, public transport, and cars and fuel can also quickly raise living expenditure.
However, wages in Norway are also generally high, with a supermarket cashier earning around £21 to £30, and much more in higher-earning jobs, with the gross average annual salary being around £54,000. Norway’s economy is also expected to remain relatively stable after the coronavirus pandemic.
Canada is often described as being somewhere between Europe and the United States, and you can expect a similar mix when it comes to a work-life balance.
A mainly urban-living population, Canada is also home to an unrivalled vast landscapes of mountains, plains, forests, valleys, rivers and lakes, making it one of the most diverse and balanced nations in this list.
ExpatInfoDesk highlights the reasons for the US-Europe similarities: “Canada remains part of the British Commonwealth and is subsequently exceedingly popular with expats from both the UK and France. However, despite its European background, Canada shares much more economic and social similarities with the US.”
Canada is also known for being a generally safe, open-minded country, and is highly rated for its level of entrepreneurship and quality of life. Employment opportunities are in abundance, with sectors such as manufacturing, commerce, IT, and construction all booming sectors.
Added to this, the cost of living in Canada is relatively low compared to major cities in Europe. The average monthly wage in Canada is also higher than that in the UK, with a monthly average of £1,864 compared to the UK’s £1.801.
Bills also come cheaper, with the average domestic utility bill being around £84.55 compared to the UK’s pricier £145.28.
One of the major benefits of living in Canada is their healthcare system. As an expat you’d be eligible for Medicare, the universal healthcare system available to all Canadian citizens. This functions much like the UK’s NHS – it’s free.
It’s little wonder why Canada is an established favourite for UK expats.
One of the main reasons expats choose to live in Australia is because of its near-perfect weather and laidback lifestyle. Australia is well known for its quality of life, along with its cultural diversity and general healthcare.
In a nutshell, Australia is a work-to-live sort of place, and not the other way around. As a result, you will find many Australian’s more laidback than some of the Northern European countries. Tax is high, but this feeds into both the education and healthcare system, much like in Canada.
Kit Young, the head of photography at Vinomofo, describes his experience of working in Australia: “As a Brit, who has spent many years living in the US, workplaces to me were often places where people tried to avoid confrontation; skating around awkward conversations and hiding behind emails.
“Then I came to Australia, and everyone was so direct. It was at first refreshing and absolutely terrifying in equal measure. Candid to the core, Australians get straight to the point and I love them for it.”
So, if like Kit Young, you’re looking for a direct and laidback approach to living, Australia should be at the top of your list.
The list here are just some of the more notable countries that strike an impressive work-life balance, there are many others that could suit your work-life needs.
After the year we have had, it’s likely that for many of us our focus will be on our happiness at work and at home, and a move abroad could be the way to really find that balance.
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