Burnout, presenteeism and longer working hours. They’re the bane of most employees’ lives and, as of recently, their bosses’ lives too.
With increased reporting on stagnating productivity levels and problems with efficiencies, companies – and occasionally Governments, too – are looking at the benefits that getting their employees to switch off could have on the bottom line.
For example, the BBC recently reported that South Korea is almost ready to cut its maximum working week from 68 hours to 52 hours in a bid to boost productivity – and also the number of children being born.
In fact, the ruling body of South Korea are concerned that long working hours are impacting everything from workplace efficiency to the ways in which their citizens conduct family life.
South Korea has currently longer working hours than any other developed country: an average 2,069 hours per year, per worker, according to 2016 data compiled by the OECD.
However, workers on the Korean peninsula aren’t the only developed country to work longer hours – bucking a general trend which sees upper-and-middle-income countries working less hours than their poorer counterparts.
Japan also has a problem with long hours; so much so that the Japanese language has a word for “death by overwork”: karoshi. Japan has no maximum on the number of hours that an individual can work each week.
It could be worse though. Despite 32% of Asian countries having no limit on the amount of hours they can work, in India there is also no guarantee of annual leave.
Country / total average annual hours worked per worker
Costa Rica 2,212
United States 1,783
Czech Republic 1,770
New Zealand 1,752
Slovak Republic 1,740
United Kingdom 1,676