Mental Floss

If You Want Short Work Weeks, Move to These Cities

Shaunacy Ferro
iStock / iStock

If you’re looking for work life-balance, the U.S. is not the place to be. Though workers don’t usually spend as much time actually working as they spend pretending they’re being productive, the U.S. has the 16th longest work week in the world. Sweden, by contrast, has been testing 30-hour work weeks.

So where should you move to spend the least amount of time at work as a full-time employee? The Daily Telegraph crunched the numbers from UBS’s prices and earnings survey (which analyzes working hours, wages, and local prices for goods in 71 international cities across 15 professions) to show how many hours people in each city work each week.

On average, global workers clocked a little more than 36 hours a week at the office. If you want to work just 30 hours a week, you don’t need to move to Sweden—you could also move to France, where both Parisians and Lyonnaise workers spend that amount of time at the office. Workers in Helsinki, Vienna, and Moscow also work an average of less than 33 hours per week.

By contrast, workers in Hong Kong work an average 50 hours a week, while workers in Mumbai, Mexico City, New Delhi, and Bangkok work more than 40. Striving New Yorkers work 35.5 hours a week, on average.

Note that the survey is based on averages, and thus, it's possible that some workers spend even more time than average at the office while others struggle to find full-time work (France has a 10 percent unemployment rate, for instance), so keep this in mind before you pack up and move.