Does America have more workaholics than any other nation? The data might surprise you

Monday marks National Workaholics Day

A businessman lying in the streets in the 60s.
A businessman lying in the streets in the 60s. (Getty Images)

Has someone ever come up to you and said that you work too much?

In turn, do you know anyone who could be called a “workaholic?”

It’s hard to believe that someone could love work so much that it borders on an addiction, but the term “workaholic” is thrown around so much, it actually has its own day.

Monday marks National Workhaholics Day, which brings about some questions.

Do Americans work more than ever?

Is it true that America is home to more “workaholics” than any other country?

Does working more actually lead to added production?

Thanks to data from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, an intergovernmental entity based in Paris with 38 countries as members, let’s shed some light on how much people work, around the U.S. and across the world.


The U.S. is NOT No. 1 in terms of hours worked.

According to the OECD, the United States ranks No. 11 in the world in terms of yearly hours worked by the average worker at 1,767 hours.

No. 1 is Colombia at 2,172 hours, followed by Mexico at 2,124 hours. The rest of the top 10 is Costa Rica (1,913), Korea (1,908), Russia (1,874), Croatia (1,834), Malta (1,827), Chile (1,825), Romania (1,795) and Israel (1,783).

Germany has the fewest average hours worked, at 1,332 hours per employee.

The average work hours have actually decreased over time.

The 1,767 average work hours per year by the average worker in the U.S. actually represents a slight decrease in what it was more than 40 years ago, according to Clockify.

Back in 1979, U.S. workers had a yearly average of 1,829 hours worked in a year.

It’s a slight drop, although not nearly the decrease other countries have experienced.

Germany went from 2,186 hours worked in a year to 1,332 last year; Spain went from 1,954 to 1,557, while Japan went from 2,126 to 1,598.

Added work hours don’t lead to increased productivity.

Back in 2014, Stanford University did a study that essentially destroyed the belief that working more hours leads to added production.

The study found that productivity per hour decreased greatly when a person worked more than 50 hours in a week, so much so that people who put in 70 hours of work had the same amount of production as those who worked 55 hours.

In essence, there were 15 extra hours of pointless work.

Will working from home so much help or hurt workaholics?

With so many people working from home during the pandemic, and some companies sticking to the work-from-home model, it will be interesting to see how much the lives of those who love to work are affected.

On one hand, working from home eliminates commuting to an office, which can add to the time working, and maybe even increase productivity.

But on the other hand, it can be tempting to blend home and work life, rather than keeping them separate.

Instead of conversations at dinner with family after coming home from the office, there could be conversations about work or tasks at the job to take care of.

Instead of winding down for bed, worrying about work tasks late at night can be common.

There are five ways to help make sure there’s a good balance at home between work and family time or personal time, according to CareContent.

  • Recognize the impacts of working hard, such as potential family conflicts, marital problems or health problems, both mental and physical.
  • Pick a time of day to shut down work electronics.
  • Make an actual workspace in the home to create a separation between work and home life, and thus, be able to leave that space each day the same way you would a normal office.
  • Make social plans outside of work.
  • Don’t be afraid to be kind to yourself by taking time to exercise, sleep, or if possible, turn down requests that might force you to work late at night.

Do you have issues with working too much? Let us know in the comments below.


About the Author:

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.