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Which Country Works the Most

Updated on April 15, 2011

Japan works the most

Japan works the most hours. According to ODCE Society at a Glance 2011, Japan does the most amount of "paid work" (see chart and study linked here). The study compares the paid and unpaid work of 26 countries.

It includes commuting time as part of the work. And for students, it includes study as "work".

Working the most is nothing to brag about, because working long hours is not good for health. Cardiac risk is increased by 67% if you work more than 11 hours a day (as reported by MSNBC). Another prior British study published in the European Heart Journal draws similar conclusion that working 3 or 4 hours of overtime a day increases heart disease risk by 60%.[source]

The Japanese has a term called "Karoshi" which refers to sudden cardiac death or stroke from overwork and stress. Japanese culture is known to work long hours and employees typically do not leave work until his or her boss leaves first.

Korea Works Second Most

After Japan, comes Korea who accounted for the second most amount of time spent at "paid work". This is not surprising because Korea has similar work culture where employees don't leave until the boss does.  Korea topped the Forbes 2008 list of the world's most hard-working country.[source]

Mexico Works Most If You Count Unpaid Work

Mexico is third in terms of amount of paid work. However, it you include unpaid work along with paid work, then Mexico actually works the most of all the countries in the study -- outbeating Japan. Mexico spends about 10 hours per day doing both paid and unpaid work.

If you count both paid and unpaid work, Japan comes in second to Mexico in amount of work.

Unpaid work includes house work, cleaning, and shopping (for grocery, not window shopping I assume).

Mexico does the most unpaid work; while Korea does the least.

Which Country Spend Most Time Cooking

Cooking is part of "unpaid work".  The Turks spend the most time cooking at 74 minutes each day.  Not surprisingly, American spend the least amount of time cooking at 30 minutes.  Most people spend about 50 minutes each day cooking on average.

Which Country Work the Least

Of the 26 countries in the study, Denmark spends the least amount of time doing "paid work".  Followed by Belgium and Netherlands.  

In terms of total work (which includes paid and non-paid work), Denmark and Belgium still turn out to do the least.

They certainly know about work-life balance.

Countries in the Work Study

The countries that was included in the OECD study are Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom, and United States (as listed in alphabetical order)


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