Work-life balance elusive

Work-life balance elusive

Asian cities, including Bangkok, fare poorly in survey of major global markets

Bangkok ranked 43rd out of 50 major cities worldwide for qualities that make working and living easier.
Bangkok ranked 43rd out of 50 major cities worldwide for qualities that make working and living easier.

People in Bangkok struggle to achieve a work-life balance, with the city ranked 43rd out of 50 major cities worldwide for qualities that make working and living easier, according to Kisi, a US-based security specialist.

The results are based on an analysis of 19 factors grouped under three broader themes -- work intensity, society and institutions, and urban livability -- that affect working life overall. Based on those criteria, the top nine cities in the 2020 survey were in Europe, led by Oslo, Helsinki and Copenhagen in that order. Calgary in Canada rounded out the top 10.

The top-ranked city in Asia was Singapore in 41st place, with a total score of 64.7 (Oslo was assigned a score of 100). Bangkok scored 59.6, finishing ahead of Hong Kong (45th), Kuala Lumpur (47th) and Seoul (50th).

According to Kisi, the "Best Cities for Work-Life Balance 2020" report assesses a city's adoption of smarter working policies "and its capacity to simultaneously equip residents with the ability to enjoy their leisure time." This year's study also took into account how Covid-19 has changed and continues to affect work-life balance.

"This index is not designed to be a city livability index, nor is it intended to highlight the best cities to work in; instead, it is an indicator of a city's ability to provide a healthy work-life balance for its residents, while providing opportunities to relieve work-related stress," the company said.

Kisi chose the 50 cities for the survey based on their reputation for attracting professionals and families for their work opportunities and diverse lifestyle offerings. It then gathered and analysed publicly available data on the many factors that affect working life.

Work intensity factors included the amount of time a person dedicates to their job -- total working hours, commuting and vacation days taken. Also analysed were unemployment figures, taking into account the impact of the pandemic, as well as the percentage of people who have had to take up multiple jobs in order to get by as a result.

Analysis of social factors focused on the extent to which residents receive equal treatment, such as access to state-funded health and welfare programmes, as well as institutional support for equality and social inclusivity.

City livability was evaluated based on affordability as well as citizens' overall happiness, safety and access to wellness and leisure venues.

The two final factors added this year related to Covid-19: overall economic impact and projected percentage change in employment.

Work intensity factors that pulled down Bangkok's ranking included hours worked plus commuting time, averaging 50.7 hours per week; percentage of the workforce considered overworked at 20.2%; and vacation days taken at just 10 per year.

City livability factors that affected Bangkok's ranking included a low affordability score of just 38.3, compared with scores of 80 or more for the top 10 cities, and 27.9 for air quality.

Founded in 2012 in Brooklyn, Kisi is a cloud-based access control system providing mobile-first security solutions.

To read more on the survey, visit

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