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The Cities with the Best Work Life Balance

Which Cities Work (and Play) The Hardest?

When Sweden officially moved to a 6 hour working day earlier in the year, it prompted Expert Market to ask: which location promises employees the best work life balance?

Our research investigated the work culture in 71 leading business cities across the globe and revealed that - contrary to myths about the Big Smoke - Londoners enjoy some of the least strenuous working hours, putting in 8% less than the world average.

Hong Kong has consistently been a popular choice of destination for British expats, but this trend might see a sharp decline when Brits discover they work 866 more hours per year than Londoners. When we normalise this into the London work week, it equates to an extra 26 weeks, or half a year’s, worth of additional working hours.

Top 10 Cities That Work Longer Hours Than London
CityAnnual
Working Hours
% Difference
from annual
working hours in
London
(1,740.1 hours)
Hong Kong2,60633.23%
Mumbai (Bombay)2,276.623.57%
Mexico City2,260.923.04%
New Delhi2,214.121.41%
Bangkok2,191.320.59%
Dubai2,186.120.40%
Nairobi2,184.120.33%
Taipei City2,140.618.71%
Jakarta2,101.817.21%
Bogotá2,096.316.99%

This revelation becomes even more disheartening for workers in Hong Kong as they only enjoy a mere 17 days annual leave for their hard graft - 47% less than those in the UK capital.

Parisians enjoy the most relaxed attitude to work, putting in a relatively stress-free 1,603 hours a year (18% less than the world average) and relishing in 29 days annual leave, which works out as almost 20% more than the world average.

The study finds that most European cities came out on top for excellent work-life balance including Vienna, Copenhagen, Brussels and Milan.

Top 10 Cities for Work Life Balance
CityAnnual
Working Hours
Annual
Leave days
% Difference
from world
average annual
working hours
(1,891 hours)
Paris1,603.829.3-17.95%
Lyon1,630.628.5-16.02%
Moscow1,646.530.9-14.90%
Helsinki1,659.228.8-14.02%
Vienna1,678.227-12.72%
Milan1,691.225.5-11.86%
Copenhagen1,697.525-11.44%
Luxembourg1,702.931.9-11.09%
Vilinus1,716.230.4-10.23%
Brussels1,717.118-10.17%

Business hubs in Far East Asia work considerably harder than Europe with Mumbai, Mexico City and Bangkok having some of the longest working hours and taking the least holiday in comparison to the rest of the world.