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KL is the third most overworked city in the world – ahead of Singapore

Are you loving it, living in the one of the most overworked cities in the world?

The next time someone says aloud people in Singapore work harder, you can gently remind them to zip it because KL is home to one of the most overworked populations in the world, according to a study, behind only Dubai and Hong Kong. It seems even with the generous number of public holidays Malaysia has to offer, we still hustle a lot. 

When you start connecting dots, however, the quagmire becomes instantly starker as KL is caught in a double whammy – overworked and poorly remunerated. The latter is especially conspicuous when putting salaries on offer between economic powerhouses like Dubai and Hong Kong and KL, ensnared in a middle-income trap, side by side. 

The latest study conducted by Kisi, an American security solutions company, sorts cities based on several criteria, including work intensity, city livability, quality of healthcare, cost of living and time off. 

Bukit Bintang Kuala Lumpur
Image credit: Syaiful Redzuan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Which cities in the world are the most overworked?

Three metropolises in Southeast Asia round out the top 10 with KL (third), Singapore (fourth) and Bangkok (seventh). Others high on the unenviable list include Montevideo (fifth), Tokyo (sixth), Cape Town (eighth), Lisbon (ninth) and Budapest (tenth). 

Which cities are best for work-life balance?

A revelation that surprises nobody – the Europeans are getting their mix of productivity and leisure right. The 10 best are in the following order: Oslo, Bern, Helsinki, Zurich, Copenhagen, Geneva, Ottawa, Sydney, Stuttgart and Munich. 

The Germans are known for their superior productivity during office hours, and any form of communication related to work performed once the person has clocked off is considered a faux pas, while the Swiss are guaranteed no less than four weeks of time-off every year. 

A worker in Norway typically gets through 37.5 hours of work weekly, according to Norwegian portal Altinn.

Geneva Switzerland
Image credit: Lukas Blaskevicius on Unsplash

Which cities are best for work from home?

Topping the list is Singapore, followed by Washington DC, Austin, Bern, Zurich, Geneva, San Francisco, Boston, Stockholm and Liverpool.

“Since the pandemic began, we have experienced the difficulties of juggling our jobs and private lives, and have grown to appreciate the value of having a healthy balance between the two. 

“As the pandemic winds down, its economic impact, combined with that of the war in Ukraine, is being felt around the world in the form of high inflation which is already affecting day-to-day life.

“Against this worrying backdrop, the onus is on companies – and governments – to take steps to establish a positive balance between work and life commitments for the mental well-being of employees,” explains Kisi of the purpose of its report. 

KL is the third most overworked city in the world – ahead of Singapore

Justin Ng

Digital Content Director, Kuala Lumpur

Often think of myself as a journalist and so I delve deeper into a range of topics. Talk to me about current affairs, watches, travel, drinks, new experiences and more importantly, the business, economics and dynamics behind it.

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