Urban Transformation

The cities with the best work-life balance? You might be surprised by some of them

A rootop view of Amsterdam from SkyLounge on the 11th floor of the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Amsterdam April 2, 2013. The Royal celebrations in the Netherlands this week put the country and the capital Amsterdam on front pages and television screens around the world with an orange splash. There's plenty to see and do in 48 hours in this compact city, where the world-famous Rijksmuseum only recently reopened after an extensive renovation. Picture taken April 2, 2013.

This ranking takes into account how many hours per week and per year people work as well as how many holiday days they take. Image: REUTERS/Michael Kooren

Will Martin
Markets Reporter, Business Insider UK
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Online business-to-business marketplace Expert Market has put together a ranking of the global cities where people have the best balance between their work and leisure time — the so-called "work-life balance."

Using data from Swiss banking group UBS, the site compiled information on the biggest, most important cities globally, taking into account how many hours per week and per year people work as well as how many days holiday they take, before creating the ranking.

All 13 cities are in Europe, although 12 different countries are represented. France is the only nation where two cities feature, and no British cities make the cut.

Workers in each city work fewer than 33.5 hours per week, with people in the top ranking city clocking just 30.8 a week.

Check out the full list below.

13. Madrid, Spain — 33.28 hours per week. Spanish workers have a reputation for taking a mid-afternoon siesta to avoid the worst of the sun, and that siesta cuts down their hours substantially.

12. Amsterdam, Netherlands — 33.20 hours. Famous for being one of Europe's most laid back cities, it seems that Amsterdam's reputation is justified. People in the city work an average 1,726 hours per year, 165 fewer than the global average.

11. Munich, Germany — 33.1 hours. Workers in the Bavarian city, famous for its top tier football and Oktoberfest celebrations, take an average of 29 days holiday every year, cutting down their overall hours to the lowest level of any city in Germany.

10. Brussels, Belgium — 33.02 hours. Citizens of Brussels take the fewest days of holiday of any city on this list — just 18 per year. That doesn't stop them having one of the best work-life balances on earth, working only 1,717 hours annually.

9. Vilnius, Lithuania — 33 hours. Working just 33 hours per week, less than seven per day in a five-day week, people in Lithuania's capital can strike a pretty good balance between their work and leisure time.

8. Luxembourg, Luxembourg — 32.75 hours. Luxembourg is one of the smallest countries in Europe, and as a result, workers seem to be pretty relaxed about how much work they do, spending just 1,703 hours a year in the office, and taking 31 days holiday.

7. Copenhagen, Denmark — 32.64 hours. Copenhagen was recently voted as the city with the 9th best quality of life anywhere on earth. Some of that success is probably down to the city's relaxed attitude to working. The average citizen works 11.4% fewer hours than the global average.

6. Milan, Italy — 32.52 hours. Despite being in the country's financial hub, Milanese workers are the most relaxed in all of Italy when it comes to work, spending nearly 12% fewer hours in the office compared to the global average.

5. Vienna, Austria — 32.27 hours. Workers in the Austrian capital spend an average of just 1,678 hours each year at the office, and take 27 days holiday per annum.

4. Helsinki, Finland — 31.91 hours. Clocking less than 32 hours a week, or just under six and a half hours a day in a five-day working week, employees in Finland's capital work for more than 14% fewer than the average global worker.

3. Moscow, Russia — 31.66 hours. Not only do workers in Russia's capital work just 1,646 hours per year, they also take nearly 31 days of holiday time each year.

2. Lyon, France — 31.36 hours. Despite being the city with the second best work-life balance in the world, Lyon isn't even top of the list in France. Nonetheless, workers get a pretty sweet deal, working just 1,630 hours a year, and taking an average of 28.5 days holiday.

1. Paris, France — 30.84 hours. Parisians are the easiest going people of any major city, working just under 31 hours per week, or 1,603.8 hours every year. That's almost 18% fewer hours than the global average.

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Related topics:
Urban TransformationJobs and the Future of WorkGeographies in Depth
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