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This Is Why Working Less Is Better For You

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This Is Why Working Less Is Better For You

“Working less will guarantee happiness and joy of life, instead of frayed nerves, weariness, and dyspepsia.”- Bertrand Russell

Are you on 24/7, travelling all over the place, texting from your bed and putting in 80/90 hours a week? Is your work-life balance so skewed that the ‘life’ element is off the scale? If so, try to find time to read this post because maybe working less could save your life, company and family life.

It will take some time to get rid of the long hours culture but we are getting there. It is slowly dawning on the general masses that working less is not only much better for your health but will increase happiness in family life and will also be a boost for the economy. As far back as the 1930s, John Maynard Keynes, the famous economist, was speculating that by the year 2030, a 15 hour working week would be perfectly feasible given technological advances. Still a long way to go.

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A motor company employee in South Korea recently wrote that it was impossible to work less than a twelve hour day: “Almost everybody working in this country is suffering from the same horrible thing every day for life. I want to get out of here. We want life.”

But is there any scientific evidence for this or is it all wishful thinking on the part of a minority who have seen the light?

Working less will cut sick leave.

Did you know that Greece has the longest working year in Europe? They put in 2,000 hours annually on average. Now if working longer means more productivity, then Greece should be leading the European economy but it is not! In fact German productivity is 70% higher than theirs even though their working year (1,400 hours) is much shorter. There may be other factors at work here. But Germany, Holland and Belgium are leading the way on shorter working hours. In fact, experts are now recommending that the 40 hour week should be reduced to 30 hours.

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The Gothenburg city council in Sweden is hoping to experiment with a project where they will split test two different departments. The first will work 30 hours a week (6 hour day) while the other one will do the normal 40 hour week. They hope to be able to show that the shorter working week will mean fewer sick days off and more productivity. They also expect employees on the shorter week to be in better mental and physical health.

Work smarter, not harder or longer

The key to all this of course to make better use of your time at work. This will reduce your stress levels and give you greater job satisfaction. There are various ways you can get things done in a shorter time and also allow us to have breaks so you are not overwhelmed by weariness. This will reduce your stress levels and give you greater job satisfaction. Try some of these, if they suit you:

  • Talk to your boss if you feel you are being given too many unreasonable challenges.
  • Ask your employer/encourage your employees about the possibilities regarding flexi time and how much of the work you can do at home. Not for everybody because the home environment may be chaotic!
  • Set yourself mini goals for doing important tasks. Set an alarm for regular breaks. These can be increased during the day as you get more tired.
  • Limit your to do list to the top priority jobs. Get these done in the morning when you are at your best. The motivational high will help you through the rest of the day because of having achieved those really demanding tasks.
  • Orient your goals to the tasks you have achieved rather than how long they took.
  • Keep a separate list of ‘done tasks’ to help your motivation and also see your progress. This works better than cancelling them off the to do list.Working less multiplies health benefits

Working less multiplies health benefits

There are lots of studies done on how your health, work-life balance improve and overall how your own productivity is boosted, when you work less.

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One study shows that being able to pursue a hobby, sport or other interest can actually boost creativity.  Employers should try to create a culture where wellness is encouraged as being an integral part of productivity.

One alarming article in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine has found that there is a direct correlation between domestic conflict and work burnout.

You can help the environment by working less. Shorter working weeks in 2008 in Utah helped to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 10,000 metric tons.

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The best news of all is that if you start saying ‘thank you’ to coworkers and employees, you can increase their productivity by up to 50%. This was the result of a study at the University of Pennsylvania.

Now before you rush off to that meeting, how about saying thank you to your staff for all their hard work and encourage them to take a break?

 

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Featured photo credit: Exhausted/baratunde via flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on January 13, 2022

15 Best Places for Expats to Live (And Why)

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15 Best Places for Expats to Live (And Why)

Many of us dream of living abroad but can often be scared to make such a big change to our routine lifestyles and leave our home countries behind. Daunting as it may be, living abroad can be a rewarding and fulfilling endeavor and can give you the quality of life you have been looking for.

From a warmer climate to a more easy going way of life, there are many foreign countries favored by expats who stay for a long time – and sometimes forever. Taking into consideration livings standards, opportunities and social aspects, here are our top 15 best places to live as an expat and why.

1. Thailand

A hot spot for expats, the ‘land of smiles’ as it’s commonly known offers expats a tropical climate, a huge array of sandy beaches and islands to explore, and a rich culture. The cost of living in Thailand is extremely low, and when combined with the friendly tax system means that disposable income can be very high.

Bangkok, Thailand’s capital city, offers expats great employment opportunities.

2. Switzerland

Another popular destination for expats, Switzerland offers exciting employment packages and a high standard of living. It’s great for those who love the outdoors, as there are many beautiful lakes, mountains to hike in and skiing in the winter. The school standards for expats are also excellent, making it appealing for those with children. English is also widely spoken so day-to-day living can be stress free.

Unemployment in Switzerland is low and expats moving here don’t need to worry too much about finding a job before they arrive.

3. Australia

Many foreigners who visit Australia don’t want to leave as it offers a great quality of life, beautiful beaches and a warm climate. Making friends in Australia is easy too, due to the lack of language barrier and the large number of expats who already live here. Australia is a great place to move to if you have children because of its wide range of schooling possibilities and recreational outdoor activities.

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Low population levels and high quality of life are two of the main reasons expats choose Australia as a place to live.

4. Singapore

Expats in Singapore can benefit from generous financial packages, great career opportunities and low tax rates. Although education is expensive here, it is rated one of the top places for raising children abroad due to the quality of the education system and the array of schools.

Public transport such as buses and MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) are cheap and very reliable in Singapore.

5. South Korea

South Korea offers expats a unique range of opportunities and a very different way of living. Jobs for expats are easy to find and usually very well paid, with apartments provided by the employer on the most part making living costs even lower. There are also many tight-knit expat communities in South Korea, making it easy to socialize and meet new friends. The excellent education system is also a pro for families wanting to move to this culture-rich country.

South Korea has a cheap public healthcare system and offers great medical care, with most doctors speaking English.

6. New Zealand

New Zealand is constantly on the lookout for skilled workers to expedite to the country – especially those under the age of 30 – and skilled migrants can be granted a stay for up to five years. It offers a good climate and although income levels can be lower than other countries, quality of life is high, with its awe-inspiring scenery, low crime rate and state sponsored healthcare.

New Zealand is great for those looking for a laid back and active outdoors lifestyle.

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7. Canada

Its national healthcare system, friendly locals and very high quality of life are just a few of the reason expats choose Canada as a place to live. It’s very welcoming to expats and skills shortages encourage foreigners to move here in order for the country to grow economically. It’s easy for expats to feel comfortable quickly in Canada due to its multicultural environment.

Canada was largely unaffected by the economic crisis, making it a very popular country for expats.

8. Qatar

Qatar is becoming increasingly popular among expats with an estimated 500 new arrivals every day. The salaries are generous and are tax free too, making disposable income very high. Car and housing allowances are part of many remuneration packages, and education for your children and airfares are often included.

The cost of living is lower in Qatar than in other UAE countries but salaries can still be just as generous.

9. Hong Kong

Where east truly meets the west, this bustling island has a population of over seven million people. If you’re looking for a fast-paced environment and an active nightlife, Hong Kong is definitely the place to be. Benefits for expats include its advanced healthcare system and elevated standards of schooling for children, along with great employment opportunities. The cost of living in Hong Kong can be high, so trying to negotiate a housing allowance with your employer can be beneficial.

Hong Kong is great for those looking for high incomes and career advancement.

10. Japan

As an expat destination, Japan offers a rich culture and a chance to experience a very different day-to-day life. Currently around two million expats live in Japan, and in the larger cities such as Tokyo a large portion of the population speaks English. English speakers are also in demand and there are a large number of opportunities for language teachers, especially in the capital.

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Japan offers a high standard of living for expats and a good education system for those with children.

11. Spain

Spain is a very popular destination for expats due to the high temperatures and year-round sunshine. EU residents don’t require a visa to work here, meaning the move can be a lot easier. Skilled foreign workers also continue to be in demand with jobs such as engineering, customer service, skilled trades and language teachers widely available.

A huge 14% of Spain’s population are expats from a variety of foreign countries.

12. Dubai

Two of the main attractions of moving to Dubai are the tax-free salaries and the warm climate. Some of the most popular jobs for expats are in construction, banking, oil and tourism. You can also enjoy a busy social life in Dubai as the expat community is thriving. Although it can be an expensive country, the tax-free salary means you experience a higher quality of life than in other countries.

You will need a work permit, residence visa and an Emirates ID card to live in Dubai as an expat.

13. Germany

Germany is one of Europe’s most populous countries, with around 82.4 million people. It’s a lively and inexpensive country to live in as an expat, and if you have children the education system is great and healthcare is to a high standard. An estimated 250,000 expats live in Germany currently, with the numbers rising every year.

If you are already an EU citizen, you don’t need a visa to live and work in Germany.

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14. The Netherlands

The Netherlands is a great place for expats who love the outdoors. Cycling is one of the main modes of transport and looking after the environment is widely recognized. There are a lot of English speakers in the Netherlands too, but learning the language can work to your advantage and make day-to-day life that little bit easier. Skilled expats can also benefit from a tax-free allowance equivalent to 30% if they meet the correct criteria.

It is often more important to be able to speak fluent English than to speak Dutch when looking for employment in the Netherlands.

15. China

China offers expats great employment opportunities with little competition. Those who embrace the culture and decide they want to live in China long term can see a host of employment opportunities as its economy is growing rapidly every year. Economists predict it will overtake the US as the world’s largest economy by 2018. China also offer expats low living costs and high disposable incomes, which is why many look to live here for a higher quality of life.

Shanghai and Beijing are the most popular destinations for expats who live in China.

Featured photo credit: Saulo Mohana via unsplash.com

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