News recently surfaced that Bangkok was named one of the world’s worst cities for work-life balance. In the grander scheme of things, this title can be linked to Thailand’s overall ‘Happiness Score’ as per the World Happiness Index.
Some might be surprised at the results. After all, Thailand is many a tourist’s dream destination, and so the reality of its seemingly average ‘Happiness Score’ is a stern reality check in comparison to tourist brochures. However, Thaiger was quick to point out that Cape Town was part of the cities that received worse work-life balance scores. Ouch.
Bringing things back home, like Thailand, South Africa is another country that hugely relies on tourism – with cities like Cape Town banked on bringing in the bucks for the ‘Instagram worthy’ lifestyle we’re often associated with.
Most of the things advertised about Cape Town are true when experienced from the tourist’s perspective – the scenery is gorgeous, the flora and fauna diverse and wonderful, and the culture is rich and exciting. Of course, for the actual inhabitants, and the vast majority who don’t live in the luscious suburbs or sparkling areas along the Atlantic Seaboard, these attributes are moments that come in passing.
We’ve also been told that the work-life balance in South Africa has changed a lot since the pandemic. Despite our score being low at this point, things seem to be changing for the better.
People are semigrating to places like the Mother City to find that balance, offices are going online, and workers want to be human beings, not human workers.
Despite the steps in the right direction, how happy are we as a country actually?
The World Happiness Report has been published since 2012, and serves as a guide for governments to enrich the lives of their people.
The Happiness Index compiled an extensive data report for 2022, looking over the last three years (from 2019) for various countries and cities based on answers to the Cantril ladder question. Six factors are used to help account for the differences in country scores, using samples of people who answer questions.
These factors include GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom, generosity, and corruption.
“We use observed data on the six variables and estimates of their associations with life evaluations to explain the observed variation of life evaluations across countries, much as epidemiologists estimate the extent to which life expectancy is affected by factors such as smoking, exercise and diet,” says World Happiness.
South Africa came in at 91 happiest on the list of 146 countries, which is quite a way down from happier countries like Finland and Denmark which came in first.
It’d be premature to assume that we’ll see massive changes in our ranking without major improvements from the government, but at the very least, we’re up from last year when we sat at the 103rd spot on the list.