But is time money? Does everything being constantly available around the clock really plump up the tills and keep the economy ticking? Last year, the top five countries that work the fewest hours in the world were all wealthy, economically sound European countries. Germany came in at number one, followed by The Netherlands, France, Austria and Belgium. Make that more than economically sound – Germany is the beating heart of the EU’s economy. A 2012 OECD report found they work an average of 1, 330 hours a year, which is an average of 25.6 hours a week. That’s essentially half of what Greece averages. This low number is in part explained by a higher than average amount of part time and temporary workers, but check this out: ”5.14% of Germans work more than 50 hours a week, less than half the 10.86% of Americans who worked that much in 2011. The average German had 15.31 hours a day to devote to leisure, one of the highest figures among OECD countries. ” It isn’t, as the Germans say, how many hours you work, it’s what you do with those hours (that whole efficient stereotype? Not without grounds, not without grounds.) As for The Netherlands, ”Workers in the Netherlands enjoy low levels of unemployment, high incomes and one of the smallest proportion of employees working 50 or more hours a week .” And the French? They ”embrace their leisure hours, devoting a (daily) average of 15.33 hours to personal time, the fourth highest of the OECD countries reported.”
A little something I wrote about how, in most of Europe, taking lunch breaks, enjoying leisure time, closing on Sundays, and having (and taking!) a generous amount of holiday days, is the norm. And why countries who embrace the 24/7 culture should perhaps have a rethink. The full article is over here, on Daily Life.
We’re back from a wonderful week in Italy – plenty of photos and words coming your way.