3 Work Habits North America Needs to Adopt from Europe

3 Work Habits North America Needs to Adopt from Europe

Perceived good work habits in North America include leaving unused vacation days, and devouring sandwiches in a cubicle.

And what we mean by that is those are preferred, good work habits that your boss probably approves of. But these unhealthy work habits, synonymous with North America’s working customs, increase stress and throws work/life balance in flux.

Here are three work habits North American work places should adopt from healthier, happier European work environments.


Set Limits

In Europe, the Working Time Directive states employees in the European Union can’t work more than 48 hours a week.

Don’t overexert yourself, and leave the office at a reasonable hour. Better still, give yourself a hard deadline commitment – like meeting up with a friend, or booking a fitness class – so you have no excuse to stay longer.

Related: Should Your Workplace be Noisy or Quiet?

Take Your Vacation Days

In Sweden, workers get five weeks of paid vacation a year—and they use them.

Comparatively, Americans get the fewest vac days – usually two weeks – and they aren’t fully used. InspireHUB Inc., in Dallas, is trying to change that mindset.

“We offer our staff unlimited vacation, and our Canadian employees enjoy things like a year off for maternity,” says company co-founder Karolyn Hart. “Employers need to understand the competitive advantages they receive from having employees who are well-rested. You get a better quality of work.”

And here’s why people in Sweden only work six hours per day!

Work Less to Be More Productive

In 2015, nine of the top 10 most productive countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) were in Europe. The United States ranked sixth.

And in a recent Project: Time Off survey of more than 7,000 Americans, the results found 43% of workers didn’t take vacations because they feared the workload they’d be returning to. Don’t worry about that stuff! After all, medical experts say employees should take a vacation (at least) twice a year, to improve their overall health and reduce their stress levels.

Photo Credit: Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock.com; xtocx/Shutterstock.com

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