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Cities with the best work-life balance in the world

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Work-life balance is a privilege quite rarely afforded by professionals these days – especially in Hong Kong.

Some countries, however, do have it better than others – at least according to Expert Market, which put together a ranking of the global cities where people have the best balance between their work and leisure time.

The site did not only look at the total number of working hours in each country, but it also took into account how many hours per week and per year people work as well as how many holidays they take.

All 13 cities that made the list were in Europe.

Workers in each city were found to work fewer than 33.5 hours per week, with people in the top ranking city clocking in just 30.8 hours a week.

Here is a look at why these cities have the most relaxing working environment

13. Madrid, Spain —  Spanish workers have a reputation for taking a mid-afternoon siesta to avoid the worst of the sun, and that siesta cuts down their hours substantially to 33.28 hours per week.

12. Amsterdam, Netherlands — Famous for being one of Europe’s most laid back cities, it seems that Amsterdam’s reputation is justified. People in the city work an average 1,726 hours per year or 33.20 hours per week, 165 fewer than the global average.

11. Munich, Germany —  Workers in the Bavarian city, famous for its top tier football and Oktoberfest celebrations, take an average of 29 days holiday every year, cutting down their overall hours to the lowest level of any city in Germany at 33.1 hours.

10. Brussels, Belgium —  Citizens of Brussels take the fewest days of holiday of any city on this list — just 18 per year. That doesn’t stop them having one of the best work-life balances on earth, working only 1,717 hours annually or 33.02 hours per week.

9. Vilnius, Lithuania — Working just 33 hours per week, less than seven per day in a five-day week, people in Lithuania’s capital can strike a pretty good balance between their work and leisure time.

8. Luxembourg, Luxembourg — Luxembourg is one of the smallest countries in Europe, and as a result, workers seem to be pretty relaxed about how much work they do, spending just 1,703 hours a year in the office, and taking 31 days holiday.

7. Copenhagen, Denmark — Copenhagen was recently voted as the city with the 9th best quality of life on earth in Mercer’s 18th annual Quality of Living survey. Some of that success is probably down to the city’s relaxed attitude to working. The average citizen works 11.4% fewer hours than the global average or 32.64 hours a week.

6. Milan, Italy —  Despite being the financial hub of Italy , like Hong Kong is to China, workers in Milan are the most relaxed in the country when it comes to work, spending nearly 12% fewer hours in the office compared to the global average, at 32.52 hours a week.

5. Vienna, Austria —  Workers in the Austrian capital spend an average of just 32.27 hours per week at the office, and take 27 days holiday per annum.

4. Helsinki, Finland — Clocking less than 32 hours a week, or just under six and a half hours a day in a five-day working week, employees in Finland’s capital work for more than 14% fewer than the average global worker.

3. Moscow, Russia — Known as the warrior tribe, the Russians are surprisingly laid-back when it comes to work.  Not only do workers in Russia’s capital work just 31.66 hours hours per week, they also take nearly 31 days of holiday time each year.

2. Lyon, France — Despite being the city with the second best work-life balance in the world, Lyon isn’t even top of the list in France. Nonetheless, workers get a pretty sweet deal, working just 31.36 hours per week, and taking an average of 28.5 days holiday.

1. Paris, France —  Parisians are the easiest going people of any major city, working just under 31 hours per week, or 1,603.8 hours every year. The passing of a new law giving workers the right to ignore email after work  further stabilises the city’s status as the world’s best in work-life balance.

This no email policy is echoed by British world cycling champion, Lizzie Armitstead,  who said she don’t check email on weekends for better work-life balance.

“I don’t look at my emails on the weekend or after 6 o’clock in the day. I’m old-fashioned. I think it’s really important to have that down time,” said the 27 year old.

ALSO READ:  Almost half of Hong Kongers prefer work-life balance over pay raises

Image: 123RF



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