With the relocation a business to another country, comes many factors to consider. From tax laws to cultural understandings, there are many directions from which problems can arise. Yet beyond the economic considerations, you’ll need to think about how happy you and your other team members will be in the new location. After all, if you’re overwhelmed and unhappy, productivity will take a nosedive.
The 2016 World Happiness Report ranks countries using several factors such as generosity, GDP, freedom and other data relevant to quality of life. So what happens when this information is viewed through the lens of economics? Are the happiest countries also the best places to do business? Find out below.
According to the World Happiness Index, Denmark is the happiest country in the world. At a glance, the small country between Germany and Sweden seems like an idyllic place to live. The nation inspired such fairy tales as the Little Mermaid, and it was home to many early innovators in arts and engineering. According the country’s official website, in the 1960s Danes began using bicycles as a main mode of transportation and continue to do so now. This increased amount of physical activity could be one reason the Danes are smiling so much.
But how does Denmark rank in terms of doing business? EU Business reported that Denmark’s main industries are fishing, food production, chemical and machinery manufacturing, beer brewing and wood products. While it could prove difficult to break into those industries, a savvy business could find an underprovided niche to fill. Invest In Denmark said that the costs of establishing a new company in Denmark are affordable and many documents can even be registered in English. Moving costs could be lowered even further by getting the right help.
— Harold Sinnott (@HaroldSinnott) May 13, 2016
The second happiest country in the world is Switzerland, the small nation that resides to the north of Italy and to the east of France. The country has long been protected by surrounding mountain ranges, which has historically given it several advantages. Now, Switzerland is probably best known to Americans for its secretive bank accounts and wristwatch craftsmanship. However, this European nation has much to offer the world than simply a spot to hide cash.
According to Swiss Info, the country has several large industries including textile manufacture, pharmaceuticals, and energy. The food conglomerate Nestle is also based out of Switzerland. On a smaller, day-to-day economic level, the country is rather expensive to live. Geneva and Zurich, the two largest cities in the country, have a higher cost of living than New York City, reported Swiss Info. Moving a business to either of those cities would therefore be quite an economic burden. Sometimes the price of happiness is just too much.
The Icelandic language is one of the most difficult tongues for Americans to master. When the volcano Eyjafjallajökull erupted in 2010, disrupting air traffic between the U.S. and Europe, many news anchors had quite a time of pronouncing the offending mountain. Yet despite the occasional cloud of ash and the relative scarceness of trees on the island nation, the people there are among the happiest in the world.
Iceland Export reported that the country has a developing technology sector. Additionally, growth has been seen in industries like marine products, agriculture and minerals. These are all connected to trade, as Iceland is reliant on imports for products it can’t obtain at home. To give a clearer picture of the cost of living in Iceland, the average one bedroom apartment costs $990 a month, according to Iceland Review Online. That makes it comparable to larger cities in the U.S. Relocating a business to the island is possible, though it would probably need to be related to one of the nation’s key industries.
Other happy countries
How far down on the list of happy countries do you need to go before you find a nation that is easier to move to? Canada ranks sixth on the list, and with recent changes in government is looking better and better every day. Add that to the fact that Canada’s population is aging rapidly and there could be ample business opportunities. The United States ranks 13th on the list, so a move to any country below it could prove damaging on your company’s mood. However, that still leaves other nordic countries, Australia, New Zealand, Israel and Austria. If you are determined to move your business to a happier place, there are many options.
But if you flip the question by taking a look at countries many business have moved to and are moving to – you can see a definite downward trend in happiness. Mexico ranks 21st, for instance, followed by Singapore. Malaysia ranks 47th. And the elephant in the room, China, doesn’t make the list at all.