Zurich ranked as one of the best cities in the world for work-life balance

Zurich ranked as one of the best cities in the world for work-life balance

From swimming in the lake in the summer to the numerous bars, clubs and activities dotted around the city, when the work is done, Zurich truly comes alive. Now, a new ranking by Forbes has named the Swiss city as one of the best places to live in the world if you are looking for a better work-life balance.

Worldwide Work-Life Balance Index 2023

Created by Forbes Advisor, the Worldwide Work-Life Balance Index seeks to answer the question of where a person should go if they want the best combination of work and free time. To find out where is best, the report analysed 128 cities around the world through the following categories:

Each of these factors contributed to an overall score out of 100 which was used to show which cities are best.

Scandinavian cities dominate the top of the ranking

In 2023, cities in Scandinavia continue to reign supreme, with Copenhagen (70,5 points), Helsinki (65,1) and Stockholm (64,8) rounding out the podium. The Danish capital was praised for its “strong emphasis on sustainability and a high quality of life”, as reflected in its public services and large number of green spaces. It was also praised for the cultural concept of “Hygge” - a focus on relaxation, talking and taking care of others.

On the whole, Europe dominated the ranking, with nine of the top 10 being from the continent. Outside of Europe, the best work-life balance can be found in Auckland in New Zealand in fifth, with Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney all placing in the top 25. 

Zurich praised for happiness but slammed for high costs

While it didn’t find itself in the top 10, Zurich placed 13th in the work-life balance ranking with 55 points, just behind Amsterdam in 12th. The Swiss city scored well when it came to happiness and gender equality, recording a third-place finish in each category. It also had the lowest unemployment rate in the top 25. 

However, Zurich’s score started to slip because, while the average working week has shortened significantly in the last 30 years, the city's average of 31,6 hours a week is markedly higher than other places in the top 20. Comparatively short maternity leave, a lower number of green spaces in the city itself, fewer opportunities for hybrid working and an average sunlight score also played a hand in Zurich's place on the ranking.

Finally, in what likely sealed the Swiss metropolis’ fate outside the top 10, the city was named as one of the most expensive places to buy a house when compared to average salaries.

Best cities in the world for work-life balance

In all, here are the 10 best cities in the world for work-life balance.

  1. Copenhagen, Denmark (70,5 out of 100)
  2. Helsinki, Finland (65,1)
  3. Stockholm, Sweden (64,8)
  4. Oslo, Norway (63,2)
  5. Auckland, New Zealand (62,7)
  6. Gothenburg, Sweden (60,7)
  7. Reykjavik, Iceland (58,7)
  8. Vienna, Austria (58,5)
  9. Edinburgh, Scotland (57,1)
  10. Belfast, Northern Ireland (57)

For more information, check out the Forbes website.

Image: / Travelpix

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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