The COVID-19 pandemic radically altered the workplace, inspiring employees who proved they were able to perform their jobs remotely to push back against return-to-office edicts by company leaders. In April, American banking giant JP Morgan Chase was forced to loosen its recently implemented order for workers to return to the office after receiving pushback from some employees.
Indeed, the availability of remote work has recently emerged as an important factor in work-life balance for employees in job categories conducive to working from a laptop or home office.
Other factors contributing to a positive work-life balance include the number of paid vacation days; whether or not workers must have second jobs to cover their basic living expenses; the availability of work; and the amount of local culture and leisure activities. (This is how long the typical work week is around the world.)
To determine the 50 cities with the best work-life balance around the world, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the report Cities with the Best Work-Life Balance 2022 by Kisi, a cloud-based access control company. The report ranked 51 U.S. cities and 49 global cities for work-life balance based on 19 measures in three areas: work intensity, society and institutions, and city liveability. According to Kisi, the data was sourced from “international organizations, NGO reports, open access datasets, public surveys and crowdsourcing platforms. Significant outliers and missing data at city level were inferred from national statistics.”
Considering the composition of cities reviewed, it may not be surprising to find 13 U.S. cities among the top 50 in the world, though none ranks better than 32nd place. The best-ranked U.S. city for work-life balance is Seattle, with an overall score of 88.38 out of 100. Next is Portland, Oregon, with a score of 88.2. Compared to European cities on the list, U.S. cities stand out in the few vacation days offered, few paid parental leave days offered, and lower health care scores.
Germany has nine cities on the list, all ranking 26th or better, including two in the top 10. Switzerland has three cities on the list, all in the top six. Canada has four cities on the list, all ranking 30th or better, including one in the top 10. Workers in the German and Swiss cities get at least 20 days vacation offered, among the most, while workers in Canadian and German cities get at least 364 days of paid parental leave. Swiss and Canadian cities also receive high health care scores.
Only two of these leading 50 cities for work-life balance are located in Asia: Tokyo and Singapore, the latter of which leads the world in the percentage of remote jobs, at 52%. (These are the countries doing the best job handling COVID.)
Workers in U.K. cities get at least 28 vacation days, the most among the cities on this list. Working parents in Helsinki receive 1,190 paid parental leave days, the most among the cities reviewed. Oslo leads the world in the quality and availability of health care, while Geneva and Bern, Switzerland, lead in overall happiness, culture, and leisure activities.
Here are the cities with the best work-life balance
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