Most Americans say that the most productive working day is 7 hours or less
The average worker in the United States works 1,789 hours each year. This is only slightly above the average of developed countries in the OECD (1,770) but it is well above countries of similar wealth in western Europe. British workers, for example, work for 1,677 hours each year, while the supposedly industrious Germans work less than anyone else in the developed world and on average only put in 1,371 hours at work every year.
YouGov's latest research shows that most Americans (52%) think that a working day of 7 hours, or even less, is the most productive length for a working day. 19% of Americans say that 7 hours, specifically, is the most productive length of a working day. The most popular single answer was an 8-hour working day, which 30% of Americans say is the most productive length. 8 hours is also the most desired working day, as 49% of Americans say that, ideally, they would want to work 8 hours a day - still shy of the American average of 8.7 hours at work every day.
Currently workers in the United States have no legal right to paid vacation, unlike workers in the rest of the developed world. In the UK workers are entitled to a minimum of 5.6 weeks (28 days) paid vacation a year, while in Germany they get at least 5.8 weeks (29 days). Americans' desires are more modest, but large numbers of Americans say that full time workers should get 2 weeks or more (88%). 26% are happy with two weeks, while 21% want three weeks and 19% want four weeks. 22% of American workers want European levels of paid vacation, with five or more weeks off each year with pay.
In the UK just over half the public also agree that the most productive day is 7 hours or less. British workers are, however, more likely to say that their ideal working day is shorter than 8 hours. Both Brits (48%) and Americans (52%) are happy with the 5 day week.