Finding time for yourself is certainly difficult. However, the relationship between quality of life and quality of work is increasingly evident. In the city, it is difficult to find the perfect conditions, but there are some cities where it is easier to seek and achieve this balance.

The study was conducted taking into account three macro-parameters:

• WORK INTENSITY (Arrival Time AM; Hours Worked / Week; ≥ 48 Hours of Work / Week; Minimum Vacations Offered; Vacations Taken; Unemployment; Paid Maternal and Parental Leave (Days); Commuting (One-way, Minutes));

• SOCIETY AND INSTITUTIONS (Social Spending (% of GDP); Healthcare Score; Access to Mental Health Score; Gender Equality Score; LGBT + Equality Score);

• CITY LIVABILITY (Safety Score; Happiness Score; City Stress Score; Outdoor Spaces Score; Air Pollutants (µg / m3); Wellness and Fitness Score; Leisure Sco



Helsinki via Flickr by OneTwoTrip Travel Expert

If you go to Helsinki it’s because you really want to enjoy a work-life balance and, as emerged from the survey, this is really the right city. In Helsinki, in fact, the weekly work amounts to about 40 hours and vacation days in a year can be over 30. These are interesting numbers considering that only Oslo (38.9 hours) can compete on the first data and only Paris on the second (30 days). The aspect that deserves the most attention, however, is that of the period of paid paternity and maternity: in clear separation from other cities (the only city that is approaching is Budapest with 1120 days), in Helsinki parents are recognized on average 1127 days. In the movie starring Will Smith, “The pursuit of happiness”, even in Hollywood, we are reminded of the importance of being happy and Helsinki is second to none even with regards to the happiness score (100).


Germany is a nation that has numerous cities in the survey, in fact, many wonder what the secret of the German balance is. But perhaps there is no secret. Munich residents simply work on average 41 hours a week and spend around 20 days a year on holidays. The Germans are less generous with regards to the paid maternity leave periods, which on average are 406 but, all things considered, it seems that this circumstance does not affect the hospitality score which in any case is 98.32/100. Many people attribute the success of the city to the general ability to work by objectives, the ability to achieve them and the possibility offered to workers to work a few days from home. The formula of success, in this case, would seem to be zero pressures, zero stress, and Oktoberfest.


If we say Norway what do you think? Cold, salmon and northern lights? Yes, but not only. Not too unexpectedly the capital of Norway, it is considered one of the best cities for work-life balance. Even though vacation days (21) on average are lower than in Helsinki, living in Norway allows you to have more free time because the average weekly working time is 38.9; and it is confirmed also in the light of the days of paid maternal and parental leave (637). It is usually said that Norwegians work for a living and do not live to work; therefore, if you share this philosophy of life and want to move there, you cannot miss this city among the hypothetical destinations.



Hamburg via Flickr by Tobiduer


Ikea, but not only! Sweden is constantly among the Countries with a good quality of life despite the near absence of light in certain periods of the year (as happens in many Northern European countries). In Stockholm, people work about 40 hours a week and on average the minimum vacation period is 25 days. The enchanted landscapes make most people fall in love with the magic of these places. However, those who want to plant solid roots in this city must take into account that paid maternal and parental leave (390) are generally lower than in other countries. Despite some circumstances, however, it remains one of the cities with the highest happiness score (96).



Berlin via Flickr by Derry Ainsworth

The third city in Germany that ranks among the top 10 is Berlin. The German capital looks like a city that never stops and that continues to collect many records. Berlin is a city capable of continually reinventing itself and giving visitors always different stimuli. It is one of the most advanced cities in terms of startups and business. Despite continued progress, Berlin allows for a balanced life. On average, people start working at 9:53 am for a total of 41 hours per week. There are at least 20 paid holidays for workers, paid maternal and parental leave (406) are in line with other German cities. The city stress score is not the best (45) but the hospitality score allows us to state that it is one of the cities with the best work-life balance.


The Limmat River, the green of the trees and the atmosphere of a village. This is the most elementary of Zurich’s descriptions which suggests the reason for its presence on this list. Working in Zurich means starting the day earlier than in other cities (on average at 8:32 am you start working) and work more during the week (42.9), there are not many recognized holidays (about 20 per year) and the paid maternal and parental leave (98) are very few compared to other cities. So, why live in Zurich? Surely for the green areas, for the non-frenetic pace of life (the city stress score is 20.9 while the São Paulo one is 98.3) and for the level of happiness that can be achieved by living in this city (the hospitality score is of 97.3). Again, this all depends on your point of view!


In the survey could not miss the colorful Barcelona. A city that is always awake and enjoys a fabulous climate. Being at 9:30 in the office after passing through the beauties of the city makes the journey more pleasant. During the week, on average, people work 41 hours and the minimum number of guaranteed holidays is 22 days per year. Regarding paid maternal and parental leave (112), the situation is better compared to Zurich but certainly not the best if compared with Helsinki. The city is not the quietest of either Spain or Europe (the city stress score is 69.8 in fact) but life is really pleasant (the happiness score is 86.8). If you are leaving for Barcelona, we are sure you will not regret it!


Paris is one of the most fascinating cities in the world: will it be the fault of the French accent or the Eiffel Tower? What we can say with certainty is that this city also amazes in terms of work-life balance. The Parisians start working, on average, at 9:21 and work for about 40 hours a week. As in the case of Barcelona and Berlin, it is not one of the quietest cities in Europe; for this reason, we cannot expect the same city stress score (which rises to 64.1). On average, however, at least 30 days are recognized per year of holidays and, compared to Barcelona, the situation also improves concerning paid maternal and parental leave (294). Despite some negative points dictated by its size, the hapiness score is 89.


Moving overseas, we find a Canadian city in the ranking: Vancouver. Famous as Northern Hollywood for being a major film production center, this city proves to be dynamic and a suitable place to work. The working day starts, on average, at 9:20 and during the week you normally work for about 40.2 hours. Despite this, the minimum number of vacation days is only 10 days a year; this circumstance is compensated for by greater attention to paid maternal and parental leave (364). Despite being a strongly globalized and ever-expanding city, the city stress score is 33.1 (therefore lower than that of Barcelona and Paris). But the real strength is the happiness score which is 95.5 / 100.

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