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Hardworking Country – or Lazy Americans?

Posted on January 27th, 2016 Read time: 2 minutes

Many American small businesses have been implementing shorter work weeks than the traditional 40 hours to help attract and retain hardworking employees. Many people find this as a sign of laziness rather than being more productive. There are pros and cons however, to having a shorter work week than other countries.

  • Average Global Work Hours

According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Americans work approximately 34 hours weekly, ranking them at number 16 for longest annual work hours. Mexican workers came in at number one with approximately 43 weekly work hours. Germans placed at the bottom of the list, ranking number 36 by working approximately 26 hours weekly. OECD used the number of hours worked annually divided by the average number of people employed annually to determine the average number of hours worked annually. Fortune divided the data by 52 to determine the average hours worked weekly.

Although Korean government has been working to increase workers’ leisure time, the country still placed third on the list with approximately 41 weekly work hours. Greeks work the longest hours in Europe, averaging 39 hours weekly and placing them fourth on the list. The shortest work weeks belong to the Netherlands and Norway, each with approximately 27 weekly work hours, and Denmark and France, with approximately 28 weekly work hours.

  • Pros

American-based companies find that shortening the average work week results in greater savings and happier, more productive employees. Workers report greater satisfaction when having control over their time. Less time and money is spent commuting to and from work by having one day off weekly. Colleagues can come in early before others arrive, resulting in less stress, fewer work day interruptions, and greater productivity. Staff members have more time to spend with family and friends, volunteer, work another job, or pursue other interests. Employee morale, productivity, and retention increase. The company saves money by not having to hire and train as many new workers.

  • Cons

People who enjoy the routine of a traditional 40-hour work week would prefer things stay as they have been. Some enjoy clocking in and out at the same time daily, having everything fixed in place. They find it easier to make weekend plans when they know what time they’ll be done working. Government-regulated benefits that people rely on are effective the same time weekly, giving recipients peace of mind. Having one day off weekly affects a team’s performance when a key player isn’t at the office on a needed day to answer questions or handle clients. Having a day off each week may increase pressure to complete tasks other days, causing unnecessary stress and reducing output.

No matter what your preferred work week, let us share your workload so you free up time for money-making activities. For all your outsourcing needs, Innovative Employee Solutions is here to help. Reach out to us today!

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