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25 Work Hours Statistics & Facts for All Hard Workers

written by / January 17, 2021

Once you’ve entered the business world, one of the most valuable skills to excel at is time management. Nowadays, it’s possible for us to work anywhere there’s the internet, without any limits but the ones we set ourselves.

However, not everyone can work smarter instead of harder, since this depends heavily on our required work hours. Since these vary depending on a number of factors, at DisturbMeNot, we’ve collected some interesting work hours statistics and facts from around the world. Hopefully, once again we’ve delivered a good read.

The Most Important Work Hours Statistics to Know in 2021

  • Americans work an average of 34.4 hours per week, according to data from 2019. 
  • With 41.6 hours a week, Alaskan residents work the most hours in America.
  • Residents of Finland and Canada have the fewest daily work hours.
  • According to working hours in Japan, 20 hours per week overtime is standard.
  • We tend to take on more tasks toward the end of the year—this period has higher average work hours per month.
  • Nurses working 10-hour shifts are 2.5 times more likely to want to leave the job.
  • There’s this perfect work-to-break ratio that could possibly improve working hours: 52 minutes of work, followed by a 17-minute break.
  • Working prolonged hours affects men and women in different ways.
  • Americans have some unhealthy work practices that seem strange from a European perspective, such as sending emails 24/7.
  • An office worker spends 1,700 hours annually in front of a computer screen.

Average Work Hours by Country and other Stats from Around the World

Work Hours Statistics - Featured

How do working hours differ across the globe? In this section, we’ll be looking at working hours information from throughout the world. 

1. Americans work an average of 34.4 hours per week, according to data from 2019. 

(The Balance Careers)

According to newly discovered data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average work hours per week in the US amount to 34.4 hours. More specifically, Americans aged between 16 and 19 worked 24.1 hours a week, while those aged 20–24 and 25–54 worked 34.8 and 40.5 hours, respectively. Those over 55, however, worked 38 hours per week. It has also been determined that men work more than women on a weekly basis (41 hours compared to 36.4 hours).

2. The most diligent workers in the world apparently live in Mexico, with 2,255 work hours a year.

(The Street) (Telegraph) 

Mexican work hours statistics seem to be the most depressing in the world. This isn’t unexpected if we take into account the overall Mexican economy, which pressures people to search for poorly paid additional jobs such as housework, thus prolonging their daily work hours. This is probably the primary contributor to the fact that the average Mexican workday is very long.

3. With 41.6 hours a week, Alaskan residents work the most hours in America.

(Small Biz Trends) 

Researching American work hours, statistics conducted throughout the US found that Alaska has the most exhausting weekly hours. This could probably be explained by the fact that the oil and gas industry makes up the largest component of Alaska’s economy. North Dakota and Washington DC immediately follow Alaska.

4. With 1,363 hours worked annually, Germans seem to work significantly fewer hours than most other nationalities.

(Telegraph) 

Evaluating 2017’s average workweek hours, statistics were obtained from 37 countries throughout the world. Germans seem to work 26 hours a week (in other words, 1,363 hours annually). It seems that no other country enjoys this amount of spare time, although Norway, France, Denmark, and the Netherlands are fairly close.

5. Residents of Finland and Canada have the fewest daily work hours, stats show.

(Insider)

While most of us work 8 hours a day, work hours in Finland and Canada significantly differ from the standard working hours: about 6 hours and 45 minutes a day. In Finland, there’s the practice of frequent short breaks, which usually results in an additional hour spent at work, which is actually a bit problematic in full-time jobs. In Canada, they usually have only one longer break, from about noon to 12:40 p.m.

6. Statistics uncover that on average, UK workers have an extra 10.1 overtime work hours weekly.

(Totally Money) 

Rather than being just an occasional inconvenience, working overtime seems to be an integral part of some people’s lives, and they can’t help it. The results of a survey performed in the UK—covering the data obtained from over 2,000 examinees—reveal that the British work for about 469 overtime hours annually. What’s more, 59% of workers do it for free, although only 10% of them work overtime merely for being passionate about their jobs.

7. The Netherlands has much better hours of work, as statistics suggest that their work-life balance is at a highly successful rate.

(Small Biz Trends)

Juggling between work and life is an uphill battle, especially when technology makes it so easy to bring our jobs with us anywhere. While a work-life balance seems to be especially hard on Americans, who often work more than 50 hours a week, the Netherlands is the number-one country in the world in terms of successfully achieving this balance. They dedicate up to 15.9 hours to their private lives a week. Moreover, only 0.5% of them work overtime.

8. According to 2016’s Japanese work statistics, 20 hours per week overtime is standard.

(CNBC)

A study by Expedia indicates that one contributing factor is the Japanese tend not to use their holiday leave. Additionally, according to the results of the related survey, 63% of the Japanese feel guilty for going on their corresponding paid vacations. However, this does not necessarily correlate with greater productivity. Reportedly, Japan is the least productive out of all nations belonging to the so-called Group of Seven.

9. The average working hours in India are 8.1 a day, which is actually less than the average US work hours.

(Business Standard)

It seems that in India, people devote significant amounts of their time to their jobs. A survey by the National Sample Survey Office indicates that in Indian cities, people may work even 53–54 hours a week. People from villages usually work up to 47 hours per week.

10. We tend to take on more tasks toward the end of the year—this period has higher work hours by month, statistics show.

(INC)

Reportedly, we work more in September (8.8 %), October (9.5 %), and November (9%) than we do in the earlier months. The justification for this might be our tendency to set both personal and professional goals at the beginning of the year, while not necessarily completing them. However, as all the holiday euphoria vanishes, we start procrastinating, and it’s the end of the year when we make an effort to actually get things done. 

11. The Australian workforce is equally composed of women (50.5%) and men (49.5%).

(ABC)

Australia counts about 10 million employees, and just over half of them are women. Still, men earn more money—the data suggests that on average, weekly earnings are higher by $489.6 for male workers. The average working hours in Australia do show that men may work longer hours than women. 

Work Hours Among Particular Demographics

Work Hours Statistics - By Different Demographics

How do working hours affect people of different demographics? Here, we will be exploring this subject further. 

12. Women in India earn 20% less than men.

(Scoop Whoop)

According to research conducted in India, in 2018, a man’s average hourly salary exceeded a woman’s by 20%. Also, female employment rates in India show a decline over a 13-year period (2005–2018). Although the Indian economy has prospered significantly during this time, thus improving statistics on work hours based on gender and female employment in general, there are still approximately 10 million more male employees than female.

13. 77% of millennials feel they’d be more productive with flexible work hours.

(The Muse)

A study from Bentley University reveals that millennials are convinced that working flexible hours improves their productivity. They supported this opinion with the fact that such an arrangement provides comfort, allowing them to take as many breaks as they need and change their work surroundings if they wish. Flexible work hours statistics concur with millennials: since 2005, remote working has increased by 140%.

14. Nurses working 10-hour shifts are 2.5 times more likely to want to leave the job.

(AMN Healthcare)

It’s practically impossible not to experience dissatisfaction with your job after prolonged shifts. However, in health care, the situation is a bit more serious, according to the US work hours statistics. Being exhausted doesn’t only undermine a worker’s well-being, it can also endanger patients—the chronic fatigue due to shift work can trigger mistakes in providing accurate therapy and even have fatal results.

15. In 2016, 56% of assaults on police officers (who often work long hours as well) occurred between noon and midnight.

(Chron)

Police officers’ average work hours per year are mostly made up of long shifts. After all, crime happens at all hours. Some police stations lack staff, so officers work prolonged hours, and officers in poorly staffed departments often have to work overtime. Usually, those who work night shifts are younger, while senior officers are privileged with daily shifts exclusively. Still, contrary to the expected, a good portion of assaults on police officers happen during the daytime.

16. In the UK, foreign students are allowed to work 20 hours per week at most.

(SI English)

Since studies are costly, students often need extra money and decide to take on part-time jobs. However, work hours are usually limited if you’re a student. For example, if you’re an exchange student in the UK, you’re allowed to work no more than 20 hours per week if you enrolled in an “overseas higher education institution,” but if you only have a Tier 4 General student immigration visa, 10 hours is the upper limit to your weekly work hours.

Miscellaneous World Work Hours Statistics and Facts

Work Hours Statistics - Various Facts

In this section, we’ll be looking at various miscellaneous facts and stats that have to do with working hours. 

17. Shift work and sleep pattern disturbances are closely linked, but night shifts can also cause other health issues.

(Sleep Foundation)

Anyone who works outside the well-established 9–5 schedule can be considered a shift worker. From an employer’s viewpoint, shift work increases productivity without unwanted costs. However, it carries many risks for workers and may eventually result in quite the opposite: a decrease in productivity. While the most persistent problems are sleep deprivation and chronic fatigue, these workers also struggle with poor concentration. Night shifts are also linked to mental illnesses such as depression.

18. One of the rarely disclosed average work hours facts is that it’s not about the length of your work, but the way you structure it.

(Forbes)

Recently, there was a study by the Draugiem Group tracking employees’ work habits and measuring the time workers needed for different tasks. Afterward, the time measured was used for drawing conclusions on their habits. Namely, the workers who had certain established rituals that they stuck to no matter what seemed to work more productively than those who worked a few hours more.

19. There’s this perfect work-to-break ratio that could possibly improve annual working hours statistics: 52 minutes of work, followed by a 17-minute break.

(Forbes)

This study by the Draugiem Group has also shown that particular workers deal with fatigue in a very smart way. Whenever they’d feel it (usually after about an hour), they would take some time to refresh (usually several minutes), but in a way that let them detach themselves from work completely (they didn’t even scroll through their social networks), and it seems to add an additional successful work hour to the day.

20. By trying to achieve the required number of average hours worked per week, full-time employees could be endangering their health.

(The Conversation)

There’s a big difference between voluntarily staying at your office for hours and feeling pressured into doing so. Some people love being absorbed in their work, and there’s an abundance of possible reasons behind that. However, they usually won’t display the same psychological impairments as those who regularly do the same thing because they’re forced to.

21. Working prolonged hours affects men and women in different ways.

(QZ)

As the statistics show, men work more hours than women. However, that doesn’t mean women aren’t even more affected by the stress of working overtime than men. According to data obtained from the UK Household Longitudinal Study, men who worked for very long hours still didn’t display any significant increase in mental disturbances, unlike women.

22. Americans have some unhealthy work practices that seem strange from a European point of view, such as sending emails 24/7.

(Independent)

One of the most ridiculous facts about US work hours is that Americans tend to blur the distinction between business hours and personal time when it comes to emailing. They seem to never stop working and will email you even on weekends, which is extremely annoying for Europeans. In France, employees have recently been allowed to completely ignore all emails that have anything to do with work if they’ve been sent during out-of-office hours.

23. The truth is that on a daily basis, we should probably work 6 hours, and the stats prove it.

(Independent)

In Sweden, they organized an experiment funded by the government to determine whether working six hours instead of eight is a more productive approach to the workforce. For the purposes of an experiment, 68 nurses were sent to a retirement home to work six hours and earn eight hours salary. Compared to the nurses working eight hours a day in a similar facility, they came out happier, more energetic, and less likely to frequently demand time off.

24. Americans might not be particularly overworked if we take a look at the statistics on American work hours vs. other countries’ work hours.

(Forbes)

Although the US is generally perceived as a busy nation, which is partly true, it ranks as the 15th busiest country in the world, which is not that terrible. But what might contribute to the myth is that 55% of Americans don’t use all their vacation days.

25. An office worker spends 1,700 hours annually in front of a computer screen.

(Independent)

Recent work hours statistics revealed that office workers spend an average of 6.5 hours during the workday looking at their computer screens. On the bright side, they do have enough awareness to occasionally look away and rest their eyes, which is what 53% of the examinees do.

Conclusion

While having a job is essential to leading a normal life, our work hours statistics demonstrate that for some, it’s difficult to keep from infiltrating your personal life and hinder you from engaging in once enjoyable activities. Being dedicated to your profession is fulfilling, but so is having a social life, personal relationships, physical activity, and sleep, and they’re actually what fuel any sort of professional dedication. 

The key to staying dedicated, but not exhausted, is probably in opting for a schedule that suits your preferences and maintains your optimal energy levels, whether it’s the normal 9–5 working hours, night shift work, or some kind of remote job. We’re positive that our work hours statistics and facts will bring you closer to the best solution.

FAQs

How many hours does the average American work a year?

Аccording to a 2018 survey encompassing full-time employees, 89% of workers work on weekdays, and 31% on weekend days, which finally results in about 2,080 annual working hours on average. The figures actually vary depending on age. Those aged 20–24 and 25–54 (who make up the largest percentage of the workforce) are reported to work 34.8 and 40.5 hours, respectively.

How many hours does the average person work?

Full-time employees work differently and for varying hours in distinct parts of the world. For example, in the United States, this number is reported as 260 days (and 2,080 hours) per year (which is a little bit higher than it is in European countries). In general, it’s the actual location and the nature of the job that determines how many potential additional workdays might occur.

Who works the most hours in the world?

Mexico, Turkey, and Colombia are the countries whose residents work the most hours, even compared to working hours in the USA. At the bottom of the table, and perhaps the list of places you want to consider moving to, were the Netherlands (29.1 hours), Denmark (32.1), Norway (34.0), and Switzerland (34.4).

How many hours do people work around the world?

As we saw in the previous FAQ, it varies drastically, and there’s no general rule to this. For example, while the statistical data show that Eastern Europeans mostly have a 40-hour workweek, Western Europeans seem to work less. Some American states, such as Alaska and North Dakota have an enormous amount of weekly work hours, up to 41.6 hours per week on average. Meanwhile, Finland and Canada significantly differ from the standard: they work for about 6 hours and 45 minutes a day.

Which country works more hours than others?

Apart from Mexico, with 2,225 annual work hours, Costa Rica, and perhaps Turkey, statistics say that South Korea also has remarkably long full-time work hours, especially when compared to other developed countries: an average of 2,069 annual hours. Still, it’s important to remember that long workdays don’t imply high productivity.

What is the laziest country in the world?

While there’s almost no official data on laziness within professional settings (it’s no wonder—nobody is willing to proudly admit to their actual laziness), there are many studies providing information on general inactivity. As per these, US and UK residents are among the most inactive in the world. Some of the other inactive countries include the Philippines, Brazil, and Singapore.

Which country works the shortest hours?

The country with the fewest work hours is Germany, with an average of 1,363 hours a year. This equals 5.2 hours a day. Of the 37 other countries examined, none has been reported to have fewer working hours. In Europe, the only countries that might compete are the Netherlands, Norway, and Denmark. However, according to work hours statistics, all of them count more than 1,400 work hours per year. 

Sources