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Work/Life Balance - the Danish way

Could it be that the Danes are always being voted the happiest people in the world because of their healthy balance between work and private life?

Denmark prides itself on having a healthy work-life balance. The Danish welfare model, with its flexible working conditions and social support networks, including maternity leave and childcare facilities, not only puts Denmark at the top of the international equality league table, but also contributes to a generally high standard of living.

Today, work-life balance has become a debate about how much we allow work to consume us. For some, work is a major priority, while for others family and leisure time are valued more highly. There are as many work-life balance equations as there are individuals.

Yet many countries are now trying to emulate the Danish quality of life and generally high standard of living. Four families living In Denmark tell us about their own experience of work-life balance.



  • Work-life balance literally means prioritising between work (career and ambition) on the one hand and life (health, pleasure, leisure, spirituality and family) on the other.
  • Danes enjoy a high degree of flexibility at work – often being able to choose when they start their working day and having the flexibility of working from home.
  • The lunch break is often at a designated time each day, enabling colleagues to interact and eat together, thus getting away from their desks.
  • There is a minimum 5 weeks’ paid holiday for all wage earners.
  • The Danish welfare society is characterized by quality of life and a good work-life balance.


By Richard Steed, freelance journalist.

Did you know

Denmark was named the best country for work-life balance in a 2011 report from the OECD.