In the U.S., 9-to-5 is considered to be the average workday, but a new survey from employees around the world reveals that Americans actually work a bit more.
After analyzing commuting time, working hours and breaks, Printerland, an office supply company, found that US workers typically clock in around 8:15 a.m., and head home at around 5:30 p.m. If you throw in commuting time, the day starts at about 7:30 a.m. and ends a little after 6:00pm.
While U.S. work days are longer than expected, they’re far shorter compared to other countries. Nigerians have the longest work day in the world, starting at 4:30 a.m. and ending at 9:30 p.m. Why so long? The average worker has a three-hour commute, each way, due to terrible road and traffic conditions. The one bright spot in all of this is that the Nigerian government recently said it plans to increase the minimum wage this year.
Japanese workers also routinely get home around 9:30 p.m., after a 7:30 a.m commuting start. One reason is that workers are expected to show up early and work overtime without earning extra pay. Another reason: happy hour. In Japanese culture, it’s considered rude to turn down a drink offer, so many people oblige, even if they’d rather be at home. The same goes in Korea, where after-work meals and the commute home can keep people out until 10:30 p.m.
Give me a break
Nothing makes the workday go faster like a nice long lunch break. In the U.S., most workers take a 30-minute lunch break, but some don’t even do that. A 2015 survey from the employment agency Right Management found that nearly 30% of American workers said they actually work through their break and eat lunch at their desks.
That trend doesn’t fly in the rest of the world. Take Italy, where many workers take a two-hour lunch break. And they aren’t heating up a Lean Cuisine in the office microwave: many workers actually take time to go home and have a meal with their families. Other countries that take at least a two-hour lunch break include Saudi Arabia, Peru and China.
In Spain, workers are also known to take two or three hours for lunch, mainly in the summer when it’s too hot to work. A lot of businesses even shut down in the middle of the day so that people can take a siesta. That said, Spain’s employment minister proposed a plan at the end of 2016 that would shorten breaks and end the work day at 6 p.m. instead of 8 p.m. The region of Catalonia proposed the same plan in 2017.
Working hard, hardly working
There are also a handful of countries that have mastered the art of squeezing a full workday into the least amount of hours possible. According to Printland, the average working day in Finland lasts from about 8 a.m. to about 3:30 p.m. – the shortest on the list – and is punctuated by a 30-minute lunch and two short 15-minute breaks. This work-life balance probably contributes to why Finland is consistently recognized as one of the happiest countries in the world. In addition to fewer hours worked per week, the gender pay gap is small, and the annual median salary is $31,947 compared to $27,317.06 in France. Finland is also known for its generous parental leave.
Canada has a shorter work day as well, with the average employee clocking in at 8 a.m. and punching out at 3:30 p.m. There were rumors in 2016 that the country would move to a six-hour work day, but the needle hasn’t moved in that direction just yet.
Brittany is reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @bjonescooper.