Next week marks my 6th month of working in Stockholm. Time flies so fast; soon I’m done with my probationary period at work. I have learned so much during those 6 months, and I know that I still have more to learn. When you hear of work-life balance, you’ll always see Sweden in the list. So, really, how true is the work-life balance in Sweden?
First of all, it depends on what type of business the company is in. I’m working in an IT company, and it’s my first company I work for in Sweden. So, I based my experiences on this.
Work-life balance in Sweden
Flexible working time
Luckily, both of the companies that I worked at back in the Philippines have flexible working time. Flexible working time means you can come to work anytime before 9 or 10 AM. One thing I love the most is you don’t have to be at work for 9 hours every day including lunch in Sweden. 40 hours of work per week is still necessary, but it depends on you on how you will manage your time.
Sometimes I leave work early if I’m done with my task, and I don’t want to start another one at the end of the day. The thing is my job is output-based. As long as I am doing my tasks and finishing it on time, it doesn’t matter how I manage my time per week.
6 weeks vacation leaves + holidays + more extra days off
Did you know that work stops in Sweden during the summer? That’s because most employees are on vacation for a month during summer. Although I was still new to the company, I am already entitled to 30-days advanced leave. So, I took a one week vacation last summer. Isn’t that great?
Usually, in the Philippines, when you want to take a day off or two, you need to wait for the approval and make sure you file your leave at least 2 or 3 days in advance. It’s not like that here. It’s more important to inform your manager that you’ll go on vacation if it takes a week or so.
Although we don’t have lots of holidays here, it still adds to the days when you don’t have to work. Aside from vacation leaves and holidays, we also have a few hours extra off.
In December, I’m going to use my vacation leaves for 2-3 weeks depending on Miguel’s arrival. ?
Work from home option
Again, this depends on your situation. But, work from home for a day or two is fine especially when you are not feeling well, or you really need to be home for some reason. As I said previously, it depends on how you manage your time. I sometimes continue my work at home if I want to leave the office early. I’m really happy with those options!
Health & Energy allowance
Speaking of health & energy allowance, I feel the pressure now! My coworkers are telling me to use my allowance because it will renew next year. I haven’t used a single cent yet! Anyway, we have a health & energy allowance where we can use in so many ways related to your health and energy (duh. Haha). Some examples are a spa, massage, gym, etc.
Massage in the office + other mindfulness activities
We have two options: a massage chair or a massage by a masseuse. I often use the massage chair at least once a week, or if I want to take a break from work. Aside from that, we have a few fitness activities and mindfulness. I love mindfulness sessions wherein we meditate for 20 minutes during work hours. It helps me clear my mind.
I love our stand-up desks. It’s unhealthy to sit for a longer period so the stand-up desks are really beneficial.
They are concerned about your emotional well-being
During one-on-ones or employee survey, there’s always a question about your well-being. Are you stressed? Is it positive stress or negative stress? How high is your stress at work? Are you fully-loaded with tasks?
Aside from that, we also have an option to speak with therapists to talk about our well-being. Which I think is really important because nowadays people have a hard time to talk about their mental health.
Family-oriented & 480 days parental leave
I don’t have a family yet, but I can already tell that Sweden is family-oriented. With the 480 days of parental leave, you are given enough time to be with your kid/s. It’s normal for a woman to take a year off after giving birth. It’s good because in the first few days and months of a child is important. I haven’t looked much into the parental leaves, but as far as I know, 480 days is shared by a couple.
Those are the things that I could think of now. I love working in Sweden, especially in my current company because of too many opportunities and I could really grow my career. Now I understand why Sweden is always on top of the list in regards with work-life balance.