Singapore ranks low on work-life balance

Hectic lifestyle: Singapore was ranked second highest for work intensity, which considers factors such as vacation days taken and paid maternal and parental leave. — The Straits Times/Asia News Network

SINGAPORE: Singapore is in the bottom quarter of 40 cities when it comes to work-life balance, according to a new study released.

It comes in 32nd place, though it is ranked higher than the other three Asian cities considered – Hong Kong, Tokyo and Kuala Lumpur.

This is in part due to the large amount of time that people here dedicate to their jobs.

Singapore was ranked second highest for work intensity, which considers factors such as vacation days taken, paid maternal and parental leave, and the share of full-time employees working more than 48 hours per working week.

Top of the list for overall work-life balance were Helsinki, Munich and Oslo, while the bottom three were Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo and Buenos Aires.

The 40 cities were selected to include those known for attracting professionals and families for their work opportunities and diverse lifestyle offerings, said keyless access technology company Kisi, which published the study yesterday.

Cities were then given a score based on 20 factors.

Besides work intensity factors, these included factors related to society and institutions, such as gender equality and access to mental healthcare; and city livability factors such as safety, outdoor spaces and air pollutants.

Data was taken from various sources including government and international organisation databases, other published indexes and companies like Expedia and UBS.

Kisi chief executive Bernhard Mehl said that he hopes the study highlights the need for more research into optimising the well-being of citizens in order to counter the psychological and economic costs of workplace stress.

“Despite living in an era where unprecedented advancements have been made in technology and connectivity, we have failed to address the most everyday aspect of enhancing our everyday lives – finding the balance between work and leisure,” he said.

Although it was ranked near the bottom in terms of work intensity and how society and institutions support individual wellness, Singapore ranked 11th in terms of city liveability, as the study found that it has high levels of safety, low levels of air pollution and good general wellness and fitness.

However, Kisi stressed that this index does not mean to be a city liveability index or highlight the best cities to work in.

Rather, it aims to be a guideline “for cities to benchmark their ability to support the fulfilment of residents’ lives by improving the aspects of life that help relieve work-related stress and intensity”. — The Straits Times/Asia News Network
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