Seattle Ranks Fourth Among the Nations Top Overworked Cities

Work-life balance across 40 U.S. markets assessed by new study

By Bill Conroy August 30, 2019

Origami fortune teller on laptop in office concept for work life balance choices

Seattle is experiencing a booming economy that is producing a steady supply of jobs for area residents, but the explosive growth may be resulting in a lot of the citys employees being overworked, if a new study assessing work-life balance across 40 U.S. markets is on the mark.

In the study, called Cities for the Best Work-Life Balance 2019, Seattle ranked as the fourth most overworked city of the 40 markets analyzed, behind Washington, D.C., Houston and Atlanta, respectively, with Chicago trailing Seattle in fifth place. That assessment is based on a measure of each citys work intensity factors such as average hours worked a week, commuting time and vacations taken.

The work-intensity index score is then offset by quality-of-life variables related to a citys society and institutions, such as safety and health care; and city livability, which includes factors such as the level of city stress and leisure activities.

When the quality-of-life factors are put into the equation, Seattles overall work-life-balance index score gives it a 10th place ranking in the 40-city roster analyzed. The top three cities in the overall work-life balance assessment are all on the West Coast: San Diego, No. 1; Portland, Oregon, No. 2; and San Francisco, No. 3.

This index is not designed to be a city livability index, nor is it intended to highlight the best cities to work in, states the study sponsor, Kisi, a provider of keyless-entry systems. Instead, it aims to be a guideline for cities to benchmark their ability to support the fulfillment of residents lives by improving the aspects of life that help relieve work-related stress and intensity.

With respect to some of the individual metrics measured in the study, Seattles ranking are as follows:

  • * Work intensity: hours worked per week, No. 4, at 43.3 hours; one-way commute time, No. 7, at 30.1 minutes.
  • * Society and institutions: health care score, No. 3; safety score, No. 10.
  • * City livability: city stress, No. 40 (the lowest stress-index score among the cities analyzed); leisure score, No. 8.

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