Curiosities about working hours around the world

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Curiosities about working hours around the world

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Understanding how working hours around the world work helps you understand how you can use the best trends and habits within your company. As a consequence, it values ​​its human resources and increases productivity, engagement and talent retention.

It is undeniable that the working hours around the world it is a matter of high plurality. After all, each place has its own culture, habits and labor laws that influence this wide diversity.

But you can find inspiration and good ideas about the working hours around the world, and so use this information within the characteristics of your company, did you know?

Or, even, it can be an interesting opportunity to understand how the global job market is transforming and behaving.

Regardless of your reasons, take the time to check out what a report from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has to say about the average weekly working hours for workers in 35 countries!

Countries with the longest working hours

Of the nations registered in the study, the Colombia and Turkey have the longest working weeks, with 47.7 hours per week, each.

Not far behind are two Central American countries: Mexico (45.2 hours of work) and Costa Rica (45 hours).

Overall, the average working hours around the world – within the 35 countries analyzed – was 36.6 hours. Of the 19 countries that work above that average, 13 are European and five are housed in the Americas.

Do you know what is also worth mentioning in this? Only five countries in the Americas were analyzed in the study. And that South Africa, the only African nation represented in the data set, was well above average – 43 hours average.

Reasons for this are uncertain

The data itself does not reflect why these countries are working longer hours, but we have some suggestions. And the main one involves the labor laws of each location.

Consider that, according to labor laws, the maximum official working week is 48 hours in Colombia and 45 hours in Turkey. These laws – and how they are enforced – are likely to affect extreme variations in working hours between these countries and those with less or more stringent labor laws.

Another potential connection is the cultural and gender roles of each location. In another data set provided by the OECD, we learn that two of the countries with the longest working weeks, Turkey and Mexico, also have the biggest difference between the percentage of men and women working.

On average, 75.5% of men work, and 60.1% of women work. In Mexico, this proportion is 70.7% and 32.2%, respectively, while the Turkey recorded an average of 79% and 44.9%.

It is logical that, in homes with only one source of income, this single supplier may need to work longer hours to survive.

Countries with the shortest working hours

There is a very clear correlation between countries with shorter workweeks: they are all european. Of the 16 nations included in the data set whose employees worked less than average, 15 of them are from the Old Continent and the only one “outside” is Australia – a country strongly influenced by British labor laws.

At the end of the list are the Netherlands, which have an average of only 29.2 hours of work per week. As a comparison: this means a proportion of 31% less than that recorded in Turkey and Colombia.

It should be noted that working hours around the world perceived in the Dutch, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland, all with average less than 35 hours per week.

Another aspect to consider, as we did above with Turkey and Mexico, are the differences in gender labor rates. In the Netherlands, 80.4% of men work, compared with 71.3% of women.

If more houses have multiple income, it may make sense that everyone benefits from more flexibility in working time. On the other hand, Iceland – which works more hours than the average (38.7 hours) it has the highest national percentage of workers, and the difference between male and female labor rates is marginal.

Thus, while there appears to be a connection between employment rates and hours of work, there are clearly other variables at play and not at all debated in OECD studies.

What can we conclude, therefore?

What does all this, about working hours around the world, mean? That there are probably dozens of ways to answer these questions, but one thing is clear: varies.

Individual countries work in their own way, at their own pace and for varying periods. These variations extend to individual organizations and, increasingly, to individual employees.

It is a good idea, then, to analyze the individual factors so that you can look for a way to make your work routine more flexible to generate more productivity and avoid the wear and tear – physical and emotional – of its employees.

In fact, this issue about the working hours around the world it can lead to a very interesting complementary discussion: take the time to share your opinion, in the comments field, and tell us what are the measures adopted internally to promote the quality of life of employees!

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