In 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) categorized ‘burnout’ as a syndrome “that results from chronic stress that has not been successfully managed”.
According to the WHO, burnout is described as feelings of ‘energy depletion’, ‘exhaustion’, and ‘negativity related to one’s job’. A Gallup survey reveals it affects nearly a quarter of today’s employees.
In light of these statistics, sleep research site Savvy Sleeper has completed a study which reveals the cities with the highest and lowest levels of global workplace burnout*.
Savvy Sleeper has standardised the latest city- and country-level data available for key health- and work-related categories** including the percentage of the population sleeping less than 7 hours, percentage of stressed Glassdoor reviews, time spent in traffic from work, mental health issue prevalence, and presenteeism to rank 69 global cities from best to worst for burnout.
Top 10 cities with lowest burnout
Top 10 cities with highest burnout
Seoul, South Korea
Los Angeles, USA
Prague, Czech Republic
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Tallinn, Estonia reports the lowest ‘burnout’ across the global cities studied. It scores positively for work motivation, which supports previous research stating that 85 percent of local employees are very or rather satisfied with their jobs.
Estonia also receives positive marks for its work-life balance since only 2 percent of employees work very long hours. Estonia also scores well for its low levels of sleep deprivation (2.02), with most people getting more than the recommended 7 hours of quality sleep a night.
This is important as research shows sleep deprivation decreases concentration, decision-making and memory. A decline in these factors can mean spending longer on work tasks, contributing to employee burnout.
A recent study by the University of the West of England found every extra minute spent commuting can increase employees’ stress levels. In Tallinn, time spent travelling to and from work is low (0.55), with the average commute being under half an hour (28 minutes).
Ljubljana, Slovenia comes in second place, missing out on the top spot due to lower vacation time and motivation levels than Tallinn, Estonia. Slovenia officially follows the European 40-hour work week, but in 2018 employees averaged 29.6 hours of work each week.
Sofia, Bulgaria ranked fourth in our list. Unsurprisingly, Nordic cities Oslo, Norway and Copenhagen, Denmark also score low for workplace burnout, coming in third and fifth respectively.
Oslo’s work motivation levels in Savvy Sleeper’s study is high, and it also has some of the best scores for annual work hours. Research shows only 2.9 percent of employees work more than they should.
The city that tops the global burnout list is Tokyo, Japan due to some of the highest global scores for presenteeism, lack of motivation and the number of people sleeping less than 7 hours a night.
Cases of people being overworked are well-known in the city and Japan has recently introduced a new law capping legal overtime to 45 hours a month, to try and tackle the nation’s notorious culture of long working hours.
Mumbai, India has the second highest burnout levels with the longest work hours in the world. Employees work around 3,315 hours a year or 65 hours a week, double the average annual work hours of cities like Tallinn and Ljubljana.
The rankings also show lack of vacation time is high and a 2018 Vacation Deprivation Study revealed Indian workers rank fifth in the world for leaving their vacation days unused.
Seoul, South Korea, Istanbul, Turkey and Manila, Philippines complete the top five cities for highest burnout levels.
Ashley Doyle, Staff Writer at Savvy Sleeper commented on the findings:
“It’s interesting to see Estonia receives the most positive score in our study, over the typically expected Nordic countries like Norway, Finland and Denmark.
“Our study shows cities with reasonable working hours, good vacation policies and quality sleep not only have more motivated employees but also higher workplace productivity, despite staff working shorter hours.
“It’s a positive sign that cities like Tokyo and Seoul are recognising this correlation too, by introducing new laws to limit overworking and burnout among staff. However, our results show significant changes will need to be made for these cities to catch-up with European workplaces.”
The full rankings of the cities with the highest and lowest levels of burnout can be viewed here: https://savvysleeper.org/cities-with-highest-burnout/