Overworked Nations

All that media shaming led to hardcore stereotypes like ‘lazy Greeks’ and ‘insanely-hardworking-office-dying Japanese.’ While Japan’s salaryman culture is causing many problems such as work-related death (karoshi), low-birth rate and unproductiveness,  statistics show that on average Japanese are working less hours than, for example, Greeks. The Japanese government and companies keep encouraging work ethics change. Employees are forced to take vacation days and have more and more opportunities for remote work.

Yet, the fact that Greece is on top of the overwork charts isn’t getting that much international attention. It’s far more convenient to explain Greece’s debt crisis with laziness and stop digging deeper. But Greeks have never fallen below 2000 annual hours worked since the beginning of the 80s. In comparison, Germans are now working 1370 hours per year.

Those living the ‘American dream’ are also spending more hours at work (1789 per year) than workaholic-labeled Japanese (1729 per year). But logging crazy hours is not necessarily linked to more productivity. It’s quite the contrary. Research professor Marianna Virtanen from the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health and numerous other studies prove that overworking can lead to increasing the risk of heart-related diseases, alcohol abuse, decreased memory and thinking skills, depression and impaired sleep. We are more likely to make mistakes when we are tired which is also bad for companies. But some managers still believe that employes who work longer perform better. Even when they can’t differentiate the ones who actually do their job from those who simulate. 

Japan, China and South Korea already have a term for work-related death. Perhaps this is an honest way to address the problem.

 

Overworked nations

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Mexico

Annual hours worked:

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Vacation days legal minimum:

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Term for dying from overworking: None

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Costa Rica

Annual hours worked:

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[counter_circle filledcolor=”#dd9933″ unfilledcolor=”” size=”100″ scales=”no” countdown=”no” speed=”1500″ value=”80″]2216[/counter_circle]
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Vacation days legal minimum:

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Term for dying from overworking: None

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South Korea

Annual hours worked:

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[counter_circle filledcolor=”#dd9933″ unfilledcolor=”” size=”100″ scales=”no” countdown=”no” speed=”1500″ value=”75″]2124[/counter_circle]
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Vacation days legal minimum:

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Term for dying from overworking: Gwarosa

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China

Annual hours worked:

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Vacation days legal minimum:

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Term for dying from overworking: Guolaoasi

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Greece

Annual hours worked:

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[counter_circle filledcolor=”#dd9933″ unfilledcolor=”” size=”100″ scales=”no” countdown=”no” speed=”1500″ value=”65″]2042[/counter_circle]
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Vacation days legal minimum:

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Term for dying from overworking: None

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USA

Annual hours worked:

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[counter_circle filledcolor=”#dd9933″ unfilledcolor=”” size=”100″ scales=”no” countdown=”no” speed=”1500″ value=”62″]1789[/counter_circle]
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Vacation days legal minimum:

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Term for dying from overworking: None

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Japan

Annual hours worked:

[counters_circle class=”” id=””]
[counter_circle filledcolor=”#dd9933″ unfilledcolor=”” size=”100″ scales=”no” countdown=”no” speed=”1500″ value=”60″]1729[/counter_circle]
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Vacation days legal minimum:

[counters_box columns=”1″ color=”” title_size=”20″ icon_size=”20″ body_color=”” body_size=”” border_color=”” class=”” id=””]
[counter_box value=”10″ delimiter=”” unit=”” unit_pos=”suffix” icon=”” direction=”up”][/counter_box]
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Term for dying from overworking: Karoshi (Karojisatsu – overwork-related suicide)

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Credit: Eurostat
Featured image: Public domain by Glenn3095 (Flickr)
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