Colombia was ranked in last place in a recently published report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) that rates the current work-life balance of its members.
The report, which measures the amount of hours a person works in a week compared to the amount of downtime they have, identified a worrying trend in Colombia.
The South American country occupies the bottom position, with a lowly score of 0.9. out of 10 with Mexico following in second last position with a score of 1.1 and South Korea third last with a 3.1 score.
The report, which included 20 of the 35 economies belonging to the organisation indicates that in Colombia 26.6% of employees work on average more than fifty hours per week.
The report highlighted the need to address the issue of work-life balance among its member states, pointing out that it can severely effect general health and well-being as well as family life.
“The quantity and quality of free time are important for the general well-being of people and can provide additional benefits for physical and mental health,” said the report.
Likewise, the report indicates that governments have a shared responsibility to provide conditions where people can achieve a balance between work and leisure time.
The ability to successfully combine work, family commitments and personal life is important for the well-being of all members in a household. Governments can help to address the issue by encouraging supportive and flexible working practices, making it easier for parents to strike a better balance between work and home life.
While it may be difficult to compare Colombia to western European economies, the country is still lagging behind in comparison to other Latin American countries with Chile in particular leading the way with a 5.0 score.
Some experts believe that achieving a better work-life balance is essential in order to increase economic productivity in the Andean nation.
“People’s satisfaction makes them more productive and, for this, social life is fundamental, it is the fact of being able to have a job that allows them to take care of children, to have a life beyond work. It is a topic that has been discussed for a long time, but in which there is still little progress,” Stefano Farne, director of the Labor Observatory of the Externado University of Colombia told newspaper La Republica.
The United States too has its problems in this area with 11.1% of employees working very long hours, as it ranked 27th out of 38 countries analysed.
The Netherlands fared best with a score of 9.5 followed by Italy, Denmark, Spain and France in the top 5 following the analysis by the intergovernmental economic organization of mainly western economic powers.