Why Are You at Work Right Now?

Work week

Seriously. If you check out the chart above, you'll notice that Americans are working far more than the classic--and now outdated--40-hour workweek. Eighty-six percent of men do it, as do 67 percent of women. Comparatively, our European counterparts have scaled waaay back. According to combined averages for both sexes, French executives work almost half as much as drones stuck in U.S. Cubicle Land. And they have figured out how to be tres productive. Of course if all this sounds familiar to you the grand irony is that Visual Economics actually posted this same map about a week ago pulled it down seemingly after typos were spotted. Let's call that Exhibit A in the national argument for more vacation. Maybe the next time your boss docks you pay for poor performance you should explain that you just need more time off instead.

[Via VisualEconomics.com]

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9 Comments

  • Mary Parker

    If your productivity cannot be measured effectively, then "hours worked" becomes the default. So, the more hours you work, the "more productive" you are. I've observed in my own workplace the inability to set boundaries for work hours. People stay later and later, accumulating more hours but not necessarily producing any more goods or contributing to quality.

  • Rod Barnett

    The article does not seem to match the visual. The visual shows Americans working less hours than the 40, and less hours than just about every other country labelled.

  • Rod Barnett

    The article does not seem to match the visual. The visual shows Americans working less hours than the 40, and less hours than just about every other country labelled.

  • Rod Barnett

    The article does not seem to match the visual. The visual shows Americans working less hours than the 40, and less hours than just about every other country labelled.

  • Vicki Brown

    Yet, the little box ffor USA says the _average_ work week is 33.6 hours. I don;t see that as showing that "Americans are working far more than the ... 40-hour workweek"

    Is there something about the math that you didn't mention? How many people are working considerably < 40 to make these numbers match up?

    Is there something about the math you forgot to mention??

  • Chris Reich

    This article hits the mark. Not only are we working too many hours, but we are producing less. And I liked the point about the typo because I see quality of American work falling but do not attribute that to too many work hours.

    Our people are more self-focused and less educated than they were 20 years ago. Less educated is the polite way of saying "dumber". I often get emails asking me to "set the date your going to be here".

    Our American self-absorption leads us to firmly believe we will always be number one. We are the sole super power. But we are falling into second place and lower in many areas and the deterioration is happening much more quickly than we see.

    People frequently comment about how far China must come to 'catch up'. China is now the number one auto manufacturer in the world. The U.S. occupied that position until last year. Consider that the automobile is, or rather was, the flagship of U.S. industry and is now headed to the rust belt.

    I doubt the U.S. is going to lead the world in non-gas consuming cars. We are not adequately behind the idea as the notion of getting away from carbon-based fuels is still more of a political issue than an economic or environmental one. Political 'thinking' will slow the progress.

    Therein lies the popularity of Sarah Palin. She has a "dumb like me" charm with her drill baby drill rallying cry. Darn right! We got plenty of oil right there in Alaska. Dumb.

    I attribute the slippage to American's lack of desire to LEARN. It's easier to work more hours than it is to learn a better way of doing something. I face this at nearly every company I work with. As I look to develop new ways of approaching procedures, the employees will whine about having to "change everything" or "find time to learn a different way". "I'm too busy to play with that" always churns my stomach. They put in the hours but don't get much done of value.

    This concerns me. As technology gives more motivated people access to spreading their ideas, we are going to work harder and longer until we are replaced by smarter and more efficient workers and ideas.

    We really need to reward thinking and time-saving innovation. Perhaps the reward should be time off. That would, after all, make the time savings real.

    Chris Reich
    www.TeachU.com