In America, forty hours is considered a typical work week, but is this actually the case? Sometimes, when you think about those minutes spent answering emails on your phone or stealing glances at your computer when you’re off the clock, you feel like forty hours easily turns into fifty or more. Though people’s work weeks tend to vary by industry and even season, we wanted to see how far off the average full-time work week was from forty hours.
Surprisingly, Americans clocked in at 43 hours a week, while the Turkish average 51.2 hours a week, the most by far! Not surprisingly, the Northern European countries Denmark and the Netherlands had the shortest work weeks – 38.3 hours and 39.1 hours respectively. We’ve put together a graphic of average full-time work weeks in forty countries around the world, so you can compare how your work week stacks up with those in your own country and those in other countries.
Now perhaps you’re jealous that you don’t work in Denmark. Or maybe you realize that your average work week really isn’t that bad. Whatever the case, remember that work is important, but taking a few hours to recharge is too, and it may even boost your productivity!
Though we don’t account for productivity in this graphic, some of the most productive countries actually work the least hours on average. For example, Luxembourg, Norway, and Belgium are three of the most productive countries if you look at GDP per hour worked, and they work between 38.3 and 40.8 hours per week. A 2014 study by John Pencavel of Stanford University also discovered that working too much drastically decreases productivity. He found that after fifty hours, people’s productivity significantly falls, and there is little difference between their output of fifty-five hours worked and seventy hours worked. Long story short, working longer hours isn’t always beneficial. Instead, try working smarter by planning your day, sticking to a schedule, and prioritizing the most important tasks.