The best cities for work-life balance

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A new, data-driven study by Kisi has examined 40 of the world's most prominent cities though a variety of vectors - stretching from mental health access to parental leave - to determine which has the most holistic attitude to work-life balance.

Not wholly surprisingly, Northern Europe came up trumps. Here are the healthiest, happiest high-scorers that perfectly apportion work and play...

 

1. Helsinki

For regular viewers of annual quality of life surveys (just us?), it's no surprise to see Helsinki notching yet another win.

The Finnish capital has long been a world leader in labour legislation, and of the surveyed cities, it ranked top for maternal and parental leave, second highest for social spending, and boasted the joint highest minimum holiday (30 days - tied with Paris).

But the stat they'll want to shout about is their happiness rating - Helsinki received a perfect 100 out of 100, a full two points clear of second place.

With low pollution, a grid-like road system, and near-non-existent violent crime, Helsinki is a hit with tourists and professionals alike.

Fun fact: It has the northernmost subway system in the world.

 

2. Munich

With the third highest annual holiday, second lowest unemployment (behind only the relentless job machine that is Singapore), and the lowest rating for overall city stress, Munich is an economic powerhouse that always seems to find time to relax.

Lifestyle mag Monocle named it the most liveable city in the world lastyear, and the infrastructure, services and workforce run like a well-oiled machine.

Riven with apparent contradictions, Munich balances a traditional aesthetic with a cosmopolitan populace, and a chilled out vibe with an ultra-efficient working week. Basically, it balances life and work.

 

3. Oslo

The Scandinavians are at it again, with their well-researched environmental legislation, progressive gender attitudes, and annoyingly excellent labour laws.

This time it's Norway's turn to make the rest of the world feel inadequate, with capital city Oslo topping the table for gender equality, access to mental health services, and overall working hours. With a mere 38.9 hours of average office time per week, miraculously many Norwegians seem to work the hours actually stated in their contracts.

Oslo has made waves in recent years with its green agenda, alabyrinthine cycle network, a noise action plan, and 30% electric car sales tackling pollution of all kinds. For overall happiness, the city ranked second, behind only its Finnish neighbour.

Woman's Way