Work-Life-Balance in the United States

Work to live or live to work?


In a world ruled by “Time is Money”, how do Americans take vacation? Not so much according to the lead Time article “Who killed summer vacation?”.

In 2013, the average American worker took 16 days off. Compared with another data from 1976 to 2000, this is five days fewer that in years past. Five days is a week! As a French-German bi-national, this is quite difficult for me to understand. And I fully agree with Daniel Kulle, North American General Manager of H&M, who is quoted in the same article: “If you feel like you are happy and rested, you’ll do better work”.

Upcoming article series on work-life-balance in the United States

Summer vacation has just started for my children: 11 weeks of traveling, summer camps and family gatherings. Now is a excellent time to start an article series about work-life-balance in the United States. Please take a look at this infographic and share your experiences in the United States or elsewhere by leaving a comment at the end of this blog post. Thank you!

infographic Work-Life Balance in the United States
Work-Life-Balance in the United States: 96% of American workers agree that this is important

Photo credit: © Jeanette Dietl

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  • According to OECD data, there is a correlation between shorter working hours and greater productivity. The Greeks are the hardest working members of the OECD, putting in more than 2,000 hours a year compared with the Germans’ 1,400, but their workers are 70 per cent less productive than their Teutonic counterparts.

    A new experiment in Sweden aims to determine whether a six-hour workday is good for employees and productivity in general. Looking forward to hearing about the outcome.

    • Political stuff Monika! But thank you for pointing out that working hours are not alway related to productivity.

  • Quantity vs. quality?
    On average, people work 1,902 hours per year – but only 1,590 in France
    Are the French being lazy?
    No! The French are some of the most productive people in the world!

    France has $36,500 GDP/Capita and works 1,453 hours per year. This equates to a GDP/Capita/Hour of $25.10. Americans, on the other hand, have $44,150 GDP/Capita but work 1,792 hours per year. Thus Americans only achieve $24.60 of GDP/Capita/Hour.

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