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Helsinki named best city for work-life balance

The city of Helsinki is taking well-balanced strides to achieve its goal of becoming the world’s most functional city.Credits: : Jussi Hellsten / Helsinki Marketing

The 2019 Work-Life Balance Index has listed Helsinki as the best city for work-life balance among 40 of the world’s most attractive cities.

The study examined how well cities enable their citizens to enjoy a healthy balance of work and downtime. The ranking was conducted based on 20 different factors related to work intensity, society and institutions, as well as city liveability. Helsinki, Munich and Oslo made up the trio with the best work-life balance, whereas Tokyo, Singapore and Washington D.C. were listed as the top overworked cities.

“Helsinki aims to be a city which offers the best possible conditions for a sound urban life,” said Jan Vapaavuori, mayor of Helsinki. “Our vision is to build Helsinki into the world’s most functional city.”

All in all, Helsinki fared very well in the society and institutions category. In the individual indicators, Helsinki stood out in happiness, notching a perfect score of 100, and topped the chart in paid maternal and parental days.

Making the best even better

In gender equality, the Nordic capitals Oslo, Stockholm and Helsinki led the way, in that order. The daily commute to work clocked in at an average of 26 minutes in Helsinki, compared to the over 40-minute commutes in London, Paris and Toronto.

Efficient public transport ensures a fast work commute. Image: Jussi Hellsten/Helsinki Marketing

“Functionality has been listed as one of Helsinki’s strengths by this study,” Vapaavuori continued. “But we can’t be lulled into complacency. If Helsinki is to be the world’s most functional city we must strive even further day by day.”

The analysis is mostly based on official OECD, UN, World Bank, Eurostat and national statistics. The study was conducted for the first time, and plans for future iterations with a larger scope are underway.

In related news, the BBC has also published an article that explores “Why Finland leads the world in flexible work”. Alongside underlining the benefits of flexible working, the article points to Finland’s new Working Hours Act, which will expand this flexibility even further. Starting next year, full-time employees will be given the right to decide when and where they work for at least 50 per cent of their working hours.

By: Samuli Ojala