Singapore Is 2nd Most Overworked & 9th From Bottom In Work-Life Balance Among 50 Cities

‘Work-life balance’ is a phrase often tossed around in our seemingly work-obsessed country.

In a year where many have been working from home (WFH), striking a balance between work and family life could be even more challenging.


A recent study conducted by Kisi on 50 global cities revealed that Singapore is the 2nd most overworked country in the world. We also have a ‘low’ ranking of 9th from the bottom this year when it comes to work-life balance.

Learning about this achievement, netizens couldn’t help but joke that we ought to aim ‘higher’.

Singapore is 2nd most overworked city, behind Hong Kong

It looks like WFH arrangements have not stopped Singaporeans from throwing themselves into work this year.

In Kisi’s 2020 study, Singapore is the 2nd most overworked out of 50 cities.


According to the study, more than 25% of our population is overworked, with Singaporeans spending an average of 51.1 hours a week working or commuting to work.

2nd overworked city

Although the other top-ranking overworked cities have been reshuffled, Singapore retained the same spot from 2019, where we were also ranked 2nd.

This year, Hong Kong was deemed the most overworked city while Seoul trails Singapore, coming in 3rd.

Singapore bottom 9th in work-life balance

In the same study by Kisi, workers in Singapore were also found to have poor work-life balance.

Our city-state ranked 41st out of the 50 cities surveyed — a drop from the 31st spot Singapore held back in 2019.

For this year, Seoul was bottom for work-life balance followed by Milan and Budapest.

2nd overworked citySource

On the other end of the ranking, the cities with the best work-life balance this year are the Nordic cities of Oslo, Helsinki, and Copenhagen.

To conduct the study, a variety of measurements were used to derive the 2020 work-life balance index.

2nd overworked citySource

These include metrics such as work intensity, ease of living in the city, and access to healthcare — an important factor considering the Covid-19 pandemic which has ravaged the world.

Singapore seemed to have fared well when it comes to social well-being, but fell behind in other aspects like inclusivity.

The country also did relatively well in city livability apart from lower-than-average air quality.

2nd overworked city

But Singapore’s ‘shining spot’ is our stellar Covid-19 response which has seen a comparatively low impact on our economy and projected unemployment levels.

Netizens joke that we need to aim for top spot

Singapore nearly clinching top spot in the overworked cities ranking of 2020 seemed to have caught many netizens’ attention.

Many netizens could relate strongly to the “miserable” overtime work life.

2nd overworked citySource

Other netizens decided to ‘salvage’ the situation by injecting some humour, saying we should be ashamed and ought to aim for the top spot next year.

2nd overworked citySource

This Reddit user even said that it’s absurd that Singapore has only achieved 2nd spot.

2nd overworked citySource

Take a breather as we approach the end of 2020

While it is good to find humour in the situation, work-life balance is undeniably something Singapore needs to do better in.

As individuals, it’s important to know when to give ourselves a breather from our constantly hectic work life.

2020 is fast coming to an end. With many good deals out there and our SingapoRediscovers voucher in hand, why not make use of this time to take a break from work and spend time with your friends and family?

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Featured image adapted from MS News and Reddit.