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Asia Minute: Work Life Balance in Asia

Ray in Manila
CC BY 2.0 / Flickr
Singapore River and Central Business District | 2017

As you kick off another work week today, how are you feeling about your work-life balance? According to a recent study, some of the lowest scores in the world are in Asia.

A look at forty world cities finds a broad difference in chasing the elusive goal of work-life balance.

The technology company Kisi says it picked places known for attracting professionals for “work opportunities and diverse lifestyle offerings.” The company did not include Honolulu, but it did list several Asian cities — although none of them scored very well.

As with so many other studies like this, a northern European city tops the list. In this case, Helsinki, Finland. Oslo and Stockholm are in the top five — so are a couple of German cities: Munich and Hamburg.

In fact, the top nine listings are all in Europe.

These rankings consider everything from hours worked to vacation time taken, along with other factors from air pollution to social spending, outdoor spaces to access to healthcare, plus an overall happiness score.

Sydney and Melbourne cracked the top twenty for work-life balance. San Diego, Portland and San Francisco were the only U.S. cities to do that.

The bottom quarter of the scale is where most Asian cities wind up — starting with Singapore at number 32 — three spots ahead of Hong Kong.

The last two places on the list for work-life balance are Tokyo and Kuala Lumpur, which along with Singapore make up three of the top four spots on a separate list of “most overworked cities.”

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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