While we still reference the “nine-to-five” work week, few Americans are lucky enough to work an eight-hour day. When you include the commute, vacation and sick days that aren’t offered or able to be taken, and a typical full-time schedule, most of us are working far more than we would choose to. If that hits home, consider working abroad. Relocating to Europe where the 35-hour work week is considered full-time and workers can expect as much as four or more weeks of paid vacation time.
Today, we’re going to spin the globe and examine work ethics in different countries. We’ll see how they dress, how co-workers interact, and the best place to live if you’re not a work-a-holic.
The Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED) compiled statistics regarding the hours worked each year, beginning with the 1950s. As of now, Americans work significantly more than workers in France, Germany, and the UK. According to the charts, in 2011 Americans worked an average of 32.75 hours per week. This compares with:
- France: 28.38 hours per week
- United Kingdom: 31.7 hours per week
- Germany: 27.04 hours per week
- The Netherlands: 26.57 hours per week
- Japan: 32.74 hours per week.
Looks like it’s time to move to the Netherlands.
Interested in seeing how the vacation days stack up? If you like to travel, or enjoy a long-term “Staycation” every year, you may want to pack your bags, invest in a good Italian dictionary and purchase a one-way ticket to Italia. Italians get an average of 40 vacation days a year. Americans are lucky to get 13 vacation days, and even that may come as a shock to those of you who don’t get any, or work in jobs where taking vacation days is frowned upon. The best countries to take a vacation with your boss’s blessings:
- France: 37 days
- Germany: 35 days
- Brazil: 34 days
However, there are a couple of countries who fare worse than we do. The Japanese get 10 days off per year and Chinese workers have to be content with a mere five vacation days per year.
If you are thinking of starting a family, it might be time to hunt for an international career. The average American gets about – well – zero weeks of paid leave. Here, you often have to cash in your sick and vacation days. However, parents in Germany, Norway, and Sweden get to enjoy nearly a year of paid time off to bond with their babies.
Workplace Dress Codes and Teamwork
The following information was taken from worldbusinessculture.com.
Germany. For the most part, Germans like to dress business-professional, although this doesn’t mean boring grey and blue suits. Men mix it up with sports jackets and colorful ties and women wear both neutral and colorful business suits. Jeans are beginning to make a wider appearance in the workplace. Germans like working together as a team and respect one another’s individual talents and areas of expertise.
France. In France, your position dictates your dress. The higher up you are in working strata, the more professionally you are expected to dress. The French are a competitive bunch and prefer working on their own projects and to their own personal set of goals.
Japan. The Japanese put high stakes on appearances so professional, traditional working suits are the norm, regardless of the heat and humidity. Professional women must dress conservatively. This is a group-oriented culture to begin with and that sentiment translates directly into the workplace.
So what do you think? Which country’s work ethic is in alignment with your own values?