Do you think that the number of hours you spend at work is related to well-being , happiness and better health ?
I came across an article from us.cnn.com comparing the number of hours spent on work and well-being, putting in parallel the American and European working habits as well as regulations. The conclusion of the article is that Americans are intrinsically workaholics and have much more problems to get a healthy work-life balance than Europeans. Source: America can learn from Europe on work-life balance.
I think the article is a bit idealistic about work conditions in Europe, especially for global executives. In France for example despite the official 35 working hours per week regulation, 10 weeks paid maternity leave and 5 to 8 weeks vacation, managers and executives often work more than 40-45 hours per week, get high peer pressure to stay late at work until 8:00 or 8:30pm and are available 24/7 to work through mobile technologies like Blackberries including on vacation. So corporate culture is often more important than cross-cultural perception on work-life balance.
This is the result of globalization and international executives do not benefit much from local working regulations regardless where they officially live.
How much you earn has also an impact on your job satisfaction. If you work less and get less paid you might not be able to pay for child care for example or as two working parents you may pay too much taxes, forcing one parent to quit job. This is often the case in Germany or Sweden for example. So you may end up becoming a miserable stay-at home parent because you did not really choose to be one.
Although I agree that not taking enough rest is killing productivity and may increase health problems, I think you have to make a distinction between quantity and quality.
If you really love what you do and are in a state of mind called “flow” then the number of hours you work is not related to stress. If you are in a working place where your boss is micromanaging or bullying you and you get upset or resentful then you have high level of stress and higher probability to become sick and each additional hour is increasing your pain.
The concept of “flow” or “optimal experience” has been introduced by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi a psychologist making connections between satisfaction and daily activities in his book: ” Flow: The Psychology of the Optimal Experience“. Do you know how to recognize the state of “flow” ? Usually you are so engaged by what you do that you ignore the time you spend on a particular activity, you are intrinsically rewarded by what you do and truly happy. Seems simple isn’t it ? So why do you think you work too hard then ?
Maybe you think you work too hard because you are in the wrong job ?
I suggest you spend some time to figure out what is good for YOU, what makes you truly happy ? Maybe you need to change your work environment and align what you do with who you really are and your life purpose rather than focusing on the number of hours you work.
Do you think you have no choice ?
Well think again, in each situation you have choices ! Yes you do ! I am absolutely convinced that thinking that you have no choice is giving you much more stress than working long hours on something you chose to do.
So do you think you work too hard because you have no choice or because you are in the wrong job ?
Please share your opinion and experience :
- When did you feel the most miserable at work, why ?
- How did you change your situation.?
- Do you think money too is related to happiness at work ?
- Your general thoughts about job happiness and cultures ?
10 tips for a better work-life balance (simplybusiness.co.uk)
Tagged: Cross cultural, Employment, Flow: The Classic Work on How to Achieve Happiness, France, Germany, Global Executives, Globalization, Happiness, Health, intercultural leadership, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, optimal experience, Psychology, Quality of life, United States, Work–life balance, Working time