The work-life balance in Europe is very different than in the United States.
There’s huge variation in work and leisure culture around the world, often as the result of legally prescribed or enabled policies. Depending on where you are, working 50-plus hours a week might make you a huge outlier, or comparatively normal, according to the OECD’s updatedBetter Life Index, published last week.
The index attempts to bring together internationally comparable measures of wellbeing on a yearly basis.
More than 40% of Turkey’s employed population works in excess of 50 hours a week, compared to just 1% in Russia and the Netherlands. On average, across the OECD, 12.5% of workers breach that mark:
There’s much less variation in the amount of time spent by full time employees on leisure and personal care, but the results are still pretty fascinating. The countries that take the most time are heavily concentrated in Western Europe and Scandinavia. The average person in Spain spends a full hour longer on leisure daily than the average person in the OECD.
The category covers a vast array of activities, including, on the leisure side, napping, thinking, and spending time with friends. On the personal care side, there’s non-nap related sleeping, showering, going to the doctor, and eating and drinking:
Data on work and leisure hours has its pitfalls. In companies that buy into the “ideal worker myth,” where people are expected to put work ahead of everything else, many employees misrepresent how hard they’re working to colleagues, superiors, and friends, and may do the same with official sources.