Pedestrians in downtown Helsinki on 23 July 2019. (Laura Ukkonen – Lehtikuva)


HELSINKI has added yet another feather in its cap in an international comparison of work-life balance.

Kisi, a New York-based provider of cloud-based access control systems, placed the Finnish capital first in its inaugural ranking of how well 40 cities worldwide have succeeded in promoting the work-life balance and, consequently, the quality of life of their residents.

The top five was rounded out by Munich (DE), Oslo (NO), Hamburg (DE) and Stockholm (SE).

The bottom five, in turn, was made up of Kuala Lumpur (MY), Tokyo (JP), Buenos Aires (AR), Atlanta (US) and Houston (US).

Kisi on Tuesday underscored that the index is not an attempt to rank cities based on how liveable or workable they are, but rather to recognise cities that encourage a healthy work-life balance through policies and urban infrastructure and to enable cities to benchmark their ability to support quality of life and relieve work-related stress.

The American company selected the cities for its analysis based on the availability of reliable data and cities' reputation for attracting professionals and families with work opportunities and lifestyle offerings.

“Firstly, we assessed each city’s overall work-life score, based on a series of factors related to the amount of time a person dedicates to their job – such as total working hours, commuting and vacation days taken,” it said.

“Next we wanted to find out to what extent residents receive equal treatment, evaluating their access to state-funded health and welfare programmes, as well as institutional support for gender equality and friendliness towards the LGBT+ community. We then determined each city’s liveability score by examining citizens’ overall happiness, safety and access to wellness and leisure venues – allowing us to assess whether their residents can enjoy their environment after office hours.”

Helsinki received the highest score for happiness, the minimum length of available vacation (30 days), and the combined length of paid maternal and paternal leaves (1,127 days). It also ranked in the top five in terms of social spending, gender equality, outdoor spaces, access to mental health services, average number of hours worked per week (40.2) and length of one-way commute (26 minutes).

The Finnish capital ranked outside the top 10 in LGBT+ friendliness (13th) and fitness and wellness (16th), and close to the bottom in unemployment (36th) and leisure opportunities (38th).

Aleksi Teivainen – HT