work-life-balance

Who works hardest? Answer may surprise you

April 13, 2011 at 7:39 PM ET

OECD /

We talk a lot about being workaholics here in the United States, but it turns out we've got plenty of competition when it comes to keeping busy.

A study of 34 countries has found that Mexican, Japanese and Portuguese nationals spend the most time each day on work, studying and household chores.

Belgians, Danes and Germans spend the least amount of time on both paid and unpaid work, according to the study from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

And as for us Americans? Despite our reputation for being all work and no play, we ranked ninth, after countries including Austria and Canada.

The OECD said the research was broken down into two categories: paid work and study, and unpaid work such as cooking, cleaning and shopping. The organization used time use surveys and other data to come up with the rankings of its 34 member countries.

It looked at people’s time commitments over all seven days of the week, including holidays, and included both employed and unemployed people ages 15 to 64. That explains why the daily tallies may seem relatively low.

Although Japanese and Mexican people worked most, the breakdown between paid and unpaid work was slightly different.

The researchers found that Mexican people spent nearly 10 hours per day on working, studying and doing chores over the seven-day week. That included about 5.7 hours a day on paid work or studying, and the rest on chores.

Japanese people spent slightly more time on paid work or study --  6.3 hours per day -– but  less time on chores.

In the United States, people spent about 8.2 hours per day on paid and unpaid work, including 4.8 hours each day on the job or studying.

The Belgians seem to have really figured out this work/life balance thing. The researchers said they spend about 3.8 hours each day on work and study, plus another 3.3 hours on other chores.

The OECD, formed in the wake of World War II and funded by its member countries, seeks to promote policies that will improve people’s economic and social well-being.

Tip of the hat to Business Insider, which first reported on the study.

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