Maintaining a work-life balance isn’t always easy, but according to a new report, Vancouver is one of the best cities in the world to do it.
Mobile access technology company Kisi released its annual study of which cities around the world promote the most holistic work-life balance. It looked at a long list of factors, including the percentage of jobs that can be remote, overworking, holiday allowance, parental leave, unemployment, healthcare, gender equality, welfare programs, safety, happiness, and access to wellness and leisure venues.
And making sure the list was relevant to today’s living situations, it also factored in COVID-19 case numbers, COVID-related economic supports, and the severity of lockdowns.
With all things considered, Vancouver came in eighth out of the 50 international cities that Kisi evaluated, improving from its 10th place ranking in 2019. The only Canadian city to rank higher was Ottawa at sixth place. Vancouver also beat out Calgary and Toronto, which ranked 13th and 14th, respectively.
With the pandemic affecting how people have lived over the past year, Bernhard Mehl, CEO and co-founder of Kisi, says that it has changed how people evaluate work-life balance.
“It’s interesting to see how cultural expectations around some aspects of work-life balance have changed so dramatically,” Mehl said.
“The past year has brought many challenges but also some positive shifts in how we view the division between our work and lives. For example, a lot of people did not have the usual expenses for traveling or shopping while receiving government support, but at the same time this allowed them to spend more time with their immediate family or pursuing long-ignored personal goals.”
“The data we found on overworking is pretty alarming when considering how large a percentage it is in most locations,” Mehl said. “In Japan, for example, where the overworking rate is at almost a quarter of the population, the mental and health consequences of overworking is so commonplace that there is a specific term — karoshi — for deaths related to it.”
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On a positive note, Canada ranked as the sixth-best country in the world for COVID-related supports. This took into account factors like government programs to replace income, length of unemployment benefits, consumer confidence, income levels, and household spending levels.
“The pandemic has really highlighted how important it is to have a break from our working routines, not just for our own sakes but also for our overall productivity – something that has been proved by research time and time again,” Mehl said.
“We hope that the results of the study can help foster more discussion about the value of time off in places where vacations are less frequent, during these difficult times and also for the future.”