If you’re feeling stressed and overworked, you’re not alone. According to a new study by digital access experts, Kisi, Singapore ranks a horrifying 32 out of 40 for work-life balance.
Scoring 36.36 out of 100, the Lion City pales in comparison to the #1 city on the ranking, Helsinki in Finland, which achieved a score of 100. With that said, Singapore still performs better than other Asian cities in the index, such as Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo, and Hong Kong.
How Did This Ranking Come About?
Researchers looked at things that either cause work-related stress, or relieve it. For example, they counted how many hours people work, how long they have to commute to work, how much access they had to green spaces, and so on.
The results seem to show that Singapore’s ranking is partly due to employees here feeling very overworked and just generally stressed by work.
A silver lining? We’ve got the lowest global rate of unemployment at 2.1 percent – which is good, because high unemployment tends to make people stressed – but we also have the second-highest score in the “work intensity” category, just after Tokyo.
To rank “work intensity” the researchers looked at factors such as how many national holidays we get, average working hours per week, paid maternal and paternal leave, and the percentage of people who work at least 48 hours per week.
And with a score of 95.4 out of 100, it looks like most of us in Singapore find work here pretty intense.
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How Much Do Singaporeans Work On Average?
On average, Singaporean employees arrive to work at 9:34 AM, take 14 holiday days per year, commute one way for 44.5 minutes, and work for 44.6 hours per week. And at least 23 percent of us spend at least 48 hours at work per week.
Aside from the U.S.A. – which surprisingly does not legally sanction annual leave days at a national level – Singapore and Hong Kong offer the lowest number of national vacation days in the world, at seven days per year.
On average, Singaporean employees arrive to work at 9:34 AM, take 14 holiday days per year, commute one way for 44.5 minutes, and work for 44.6 hours per week.
Compare this to Finland and France who breeze in with 30 days of annual leave each.
In theory a more well-rounded work life balance happens when a city has a less intense working culture, with high city livability, well-being, and what researchers call “institutional support”, such as easy access to affordable health care and schools.
And Singapore does do really well in some aspects of this.
We ranked at #10, at 94 points, in terms of city livability— partly because we have the highest safety score (100.00) and the most outdoor spaces score (100.00). Obviously safe parks are are great news if you find an evening walk or a morning session of yoga helps you destress from your busy work day.
And late opening hours for shops may be stressful if you work in them – but they also make life more convenient.
“When I worked in Sydney I had to do my grocery shopping during my lunch hour because all the big supermarkets shut at 5pm in Australia. I hated it. I love how shops stay open later here” says Tara Barker, a Group Editor.
The Importance of Work-Life Balance
Work-life balance is a tricky thing to describe or measure anyway because we all have our own personal hot button – an early work start may drive you crazy while your friend is not bothered at all.
Even the researchers found some of the results surprising. “As a cloud-based IoT company, our mission is to improve life at work through technology that saves time and energy without sacrificing security, ” says Bernhard Mehl, CEO of Kisi. “But it seems we all still need to address the most everyday aspect of enhancing our lives—finding the balance between work and leisure. ”
Here are 15 ways to slow down so you don’t burn yourself out this year:
Text: Paxia Ksatryo, Charlene Fang and www.bauersyndication.com