Learning & Development Asia 2024
Top five most overworked cities 2022

Top five most overworked cities 2022


Interestingly, Kuala Lumpur made the top five in third place, overtaking Singapore. Hong Kong also features prominently. Here's the full list. 

Following previous years' reports, Kisi has released its "Cities with the Best Work-Life Balance 2022", comparing data on various cities' work intensity, institutional support, legislation, and liveability. The study ranks cities based on their success in promoting work-life balance to their citizens, "in the context of rampant inflation and the fallout from the pandemic and war in Ukraine."

In this year’s study, Kisi set out to build on previous iterations by offering simulational comparisons between previous and current results. The same cities as 2021 and 2019 were therefore studied — all of which are renowned for their employment opportunities and lifestyle offerings.

The results revealed how cities have compared over the last few years when vaccination rates were still low and mobility was more difficult. Rather than being a liveability index or a ranking of the best cities to work in, the study seeks to show which cities provide the healthiest work-life balance for their citizens.

In 2022, Singapore ranked fourth amongst the top overworked cities, falling two spots from 2021's rankings. Hong Kong also dropped from its number one spot, ranking second this year.

Interestingly, Kuala Lumpur made the top five at third place, overtaking Singapore.

The full list of the top five overworked cities is as follows:

  1. Dubai, UAE
  2. Hong Kong
  3. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  4. Singapore, Singapore
  5. Montevideo, Uruguay

Conversely, Kisi also ranked the top cities in the ranking for work-life balance. The rankings were based several categories such as the city's work intensity and liveability factors such as affordability and happiness, culture & leisure. 

The top 10 cities for work-life balance are as follows: 

  1. Oslo, Norway
  2. Bern, Switzerland
  3. Helsinki, Finland
  4. Zurich, Switzerland
  5. Copenhagen, Denmark
  6. Geneva, Switzerland
  7. Ottawa, Canada
  8. Sydney, Australia
  9. Stuttgart, Germany
  10. Munich, Germany

In this list, Singapore was ranked 45th, while Kuala Lumpur was at 98th spot. A couple of spots away, Bangkok was ranked 96th and Hong Kong took 93rd spot.


To rank a city’s work intensity, Kisi looked at the suitability of each city for remote working, a central feature of employees' lives nowadays. This was achieved by calculating the percentage of jobs that can be performed remotely. Then, it collected data on overworking, holiday allowances and the number of vacation days taken. Amongst other things, it also considered unemployment figures and the percentage of people working multiple jobs to understand how the economic fallout of the pandemic has affected the job market in each location.

To determine the role of society and institutions in caring for city residents, Kisi examined the impact of the pandemic and the support offered in each city. It also looked at the quality of healthcare, access to mental healthcare and the extent of gender and LGBT+ equality.

Finally, it considered factors related to liveability, starting by looking at the affordability of each city for its residents — a factor that is becoming a key issue around the world as inflation takes hold. Following this, it analysed cities’ happiness and access citizens have to culture and leisure activities outside of working hours. It then examined the safety of each city, as well as the number of outdoor spaces and air quality. Lastly, Kisi considered the levels of wellness and fitness in each city.

Image / Cities with the Best Work-Life Balance 2022

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