Americans work longer hours than the citizens of nearly any other industrialized nation. We take little vacation and have no federally mandated paid family leave. Many office workers bring their work home with them, checking email after-hours and on weekends.
You'd think that all this work would make us the most productive country in the world, but the data say otherwise. The U.S. ranked fifth for productivity in 2015, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), as measured by GDP per hours worked — despite putting in more hours than the four European countries who were ahead of us.
In fact, research shows that putting in long hours makes workers less productive, not more. Workers who put in 70 hours a week produce no more than those who put in 55 hours, according to one study. They're essentially wasting 15 hours' worth of time. Longer hours also lead to increased health problems, including a higher risk of stroke and heart disease.