It’s World Productivity Day! An occasion for businesses from around the world to celebrate and promote their productivity tools and training and emphasise the benefits of being productive. We thought we’d take a slightly different approach on this day and take a look at the world’s most productive countries and what their secrets are.
Luxembourg was ranked as the most productive country in the world in 2017 for the second year running, with an average working week of 29 hours, that’s 13 hours less than the average UK worker. The country believes that by preserving employees work-life balance it will improve their wellbeing and performance at work.
Family is very important in their culture so they give employees a minimum of five weeks annual leave a year and compensation for any overtime hours. Employees are also able to organise their working hours to make time for outside commitments such as family and social arrangements.
Although, many of these work-life balance policies are not legally binding, it is in the employers best interests to honour them to encourage and retain quality employees and prevent high turn over of staff.
Norway is ranked as the second most productive country and boasts a 27 hour working week; one of the shortest in the world. The productivity levels of Norwegian workers has grown 9% over the past year and research has proven that there is a definite correlation between working a shorter week and increased productivity levels.
According to some studies, Norwegian workers are twice as productive as UK workers and are also happier according to the World Happy Report. Norway is the third happiest country, whilst the UK is positioned 15th. The shift towards working shorter weeks suggests that similarly to Luxembourg, Norway recognise the importance of a work-life balance. Shorter weeks mean employees are more motivated to focus on delivering while at work and have more time away from the office to reboot in between.
Where to begin with Switzerland? They are ranked as the 3rd most productive country in the world, the 5th healthiest nation and consistently top the World Happiness report. On average, the Swiss spend just over 30 hours a week at their workplace and contributing factors such as being one of the healthiest countries in the world will undeniably increase the levels of productivity.
The Swiss are very competitive in terms of workforce productivity and attract talent globally due to its excellent living and working conditions. Just 3.2% of the population are unemployed, which is among the lowest in the world so clearly levels of productivity, good health and excellent living conditions make for the perfect recipe.
The average Dane works around 33 hours a week and are some of Europe’s most efficient workers. They recognise that life is not just about working and usually clock off around 4pm to maintain a good balance between their job and personal life as it’s important and respected by their employers.
Staying late is also discouraged and you are more likely to be deemed as unorganised than dedicated. Dane’s take pride in their work but do not feel the need to work long hours to show their dedication.
The official working week in Denmark is 37 hours a week and around 72% of women have paid jobs outside the home. The working week is realistic and the high percentage of women in work highlights how the Danes encourage employees to maintain good well-being by making life easier to manage family and work at the same time.
Sitting in 5th position is Iceland with the average working week consisting of 39 hours. Employees are allowed a minimum of 24 days annual leave in addition to 13 public holidays. The country also ranks well when it comes to quality of life, which is down to its high level of living conditions.
Although the Icelandic work some of the longest hours in Europe, they are rewarded with generous annual leave and paid for overtime. They have a strong work ethic and are even looking at shortening the working week to 32 hours. Adrian Harper, a researcher at the New Economics Foundation believes the economy should revolve around increased leisure time so they can enjoy a better life; a good economy shouldn’t solely revolve around creating more wealth.
If you feel yourself becoming stressed and procrastinating, putting off the hard stuff, then take a break. Have a 5-minute wander and come back to it refreshed. Working smarter can mean being more productive during your working hours meaning that you get the job done more efficiently.