European countries generally have a good reputation when it comes to work-life balance, especially the Scandinavian countries.
But guess which European country doesn’t do so well when it comes to balancing work with life… In case you guessed the UK, you are spot on.
Yes, according to the latest research (survey commissioned by the TUC), British workers have the longest full-time work week in the EU – at 42 hours per week.
This is 2 hours more than the typical EU worker, the TUC survey found.
The average work week in Europe
Here’s how the UK compares with some of the other European countries:
- UK average work week = 42 hours
- Denmark average work week = 37 hours
- Holland average work week = 39 hours
- Belgium average work week = 39 hours
- Italy average work week = 39 hours
- France average work week = 39 hours
- Ireland average work week = 39 hours
- Sweden average work week = 39 hours
Related article: 10 Steps To Improve Your Time Management
Long hours = Productive right?
One of the main reasons behind the long working hours is the belief that working long hours means being more productive.
This, however, is not the reality.
As the TUC research found, workers in other European countries, including Denmark and Germany, are more productive than British workers – despite working fewer hours.
There have actually been several pieces of research on the subject which have, over an over, confirmed that working long hours negatively impacts productivity.
Work is important, but so is having balance. Without proper downtime, productivity isn’t the only thing that suffers – lack of downtime can (and does) negatively impact our social life, family life, mental health, physical wellbeing, etc, etc.
So it is time to wake up to this reality.
Quality always trumps quantity, especially when it comes to work.
How about you – what’s your take on working long hours? Does it make you more, or less, productive?
Share your thoughts, tips, and ideas in the comments.
Check out our productivity section for more tips and articles on productivity, including ways you can improve your productivity and efficiency.
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