Where to Work in Europe: The Best Countries for Working Hours

Discover the best European countries for work-life balance! Explore average working hours in Europe, from the Netherlands' short workweeks to Greece's longer hours.
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When it comes to work-life balance, the number of hours you spend at the office can make all the difference. A recent report from the European Statistical Office, Eurostat, provides valuable insights into the working hours of European residents aged between 20 and 64.

Let’s delve into the data to uncover the best countries in Europe for those seeking a balanced work-life schedule.

The Netherlands: A Leader in Short Working Weeks

Topping the list of countries with the shortest working weeks is the Netherlands, where workers clock in an average of just 33.2 hours per week. This Dutch dedication to work-life balance is closely followed by Germany, where employees put in 35.3 hours per week.

Denmark rounds out the top three, with a mere ten-minute difference, resulting in an average of 35.4 working hours per week.

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Countries with the Shortest Working Hours in Europe

According to a recent report by the European Statistical Office, Eurostat, the shortest working weeks are recorded in the Netherlands, with workers serving 33.2 hours per week, followed by Germany with 35.3 hours per week and Denmark, with only 10 minutes more – totalling to 35.4 working hours per week

Other countries with shorter working hours include:

  • Norway (35.5)
  • Estonia (38)
  • Austria (36)
  • Switzerland (36)
  • Finland (36.2)
  • Belgium (36.9)
  • Ireland (36.9)
  • France (37.4)
  • Italy (37.4)
  • Spain (37.8)
  • Luxembourg (38.1)

Must Read: Want to Work In Europe? Here Are 20 Professions That Will Get You a Visa

Greece and Poland: Extremes in Working Hours

In stark contrast, Greece emerges as the European leader in working hours, with an arduous 41-hour workweek followed by Poland (40.2). It’s worth noting that when considering countries outside the European Union, Serbia stands out with an average workweek of 43.3 hours.

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Countries with the Longest Working Hours in Europe

While the Netherlands is the country with the shortest working hours (33.2 ), Greece has the highest working hours in Europe – 41 hours, while including countries outside the European Union, Serbia would have the highest average of working hours as workers there have a working week of 43.3 hours.

Other countries with longer working hours include:

  • Poland (40.2)
  • Romania (40.2)
  • Bulgaria (40.2)
  • Portugal (39.9)
  • Czechia (39.8)
  • Slovenia (39.6)
  • Croatia (39.6)
  • Hungary (39.6)
  • Slovakia (39.6)
  • Lithuania (39.2)
  • Latvia (39)

Several European countries maintain a balance between work and leisure, averaging between 40.2 and 38 hours per week. Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria all fit within this range, providing their residents with a reasonably balanced work schedule.

Portugal hovers just below the 40-hour mark, with an average of 39.9 hours per week. Czechia follows closely with 39.8 hours. The list of countries in the 39-38-hour range includes Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary, and Slovakia, where working hours typically amount to 39.6 per week.

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A Pan-European Perspective

Overall, European countries showcase varying labour shortages and working conditions. For European nationals, the convenience of work-life balance varies significantly by location.

In response to these dynamics, the Commission of the European Union has proposed measures to streamline the coordination of social security systems, making it easier for European residents to live, work, and travel across Member States.

Conclusion

In your quest for the ideal work-life balance, these insights into European working hours can guide you towards a destination that aligns with your lifestyle preferences. Whether you seek shorter workweeks or are comfortable with a bit more hustle, Europe offers a diverse array of options to suit your professional aspirations.


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Manish Khandelwal
Manish Khandelwal

Manish Khandelwal, a travel-tech enthusiast with over a decade of experience in the travel industry. Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Travelobiz.com, he's passionate about writing.

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