Helsinki, Oslo and Zurich are cities with the best work-life balance

work-lifeMobile access company Kisi has released their annual study examining which cities around the world promote the most holistic work-life balance. With the goal of enhancing an individual’s personal and professional life through technological innovation, Kisi has endeavored to find out which coveted metropolises worldwide are meeting their residents’ lifestyle demands to make their city a more attractive place overall to work and live.

In response to research on modern work culture, this study aims to go beyond generic metrics such as cost of living while addressing how working and living conditions have shifted in global cities during the pandemic. While every city in the index suffered from economic, social and structural changes, some have been able to navigate these challenges better due to pre-existing frameworks as well as newly-created support systems for their citizens.

Kisi did not design the study to be a city livability index, nor is it intended to highlight the best cities to work in. Instead, it aims to be a guideline for cities to benchmark their ability to support the fulfillment of residents’ lives by improving the aspects of life that help relieve work-related stress and intensity.

With an ever-increasing burnout rate worldwide, self-care and time management are becoming higher priorities. This study was conducted in the hope that it will bring awareness to the multiple ways in which cities and countries can contribute to the overall happiness and well-being of the workforce within and outside of times of crisis.

Kisi first explored the topic in their 2019 study by determining the cities whose residents had the most well-rounded work-life balance, which was gauged by looking at work intensity, livability and the well-being and rights of inhabitants. In the time since, working from home, taking next-to-no vacations, and being separated from loved ones has underscored this delicate balance more than ever before.

This year’s index highlights how cities rank against their pre-pandemic statuses, painting a picture of how Covid-19 has changed and continues to affect people’s work-life balance in major cities around the world.


Key findings

Helsinki, Oslo and Zurich top the index as the cities promoting the most holistic work-life balance, compared to the most stressed cities in the study, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, and Buenos Aires.

Hong Kong, Singapore and Bangkok have the most overworked populations (20-30 percent) in the study, while in Japan 26.3 percent of men overwork compared to 8.32 percent of women. Inhabitants of Brussels, Amsterdam and Copenhagen overwork the least (around 10 percent).

Denmark, Finland and Norway offer the most amount of Covid economic support to their citizens, while Brazil, Argentina, and the U.S. offer the least.

Image by Tapio Haaja