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How Many Hours in a Year? How Many Work Hours? (The Ultimate Guide 2023)

how many hours in a year

Do you ever feel as though life is passing you by? 

If you have a full-time job, it may feel as though you practically live in the office. Unfortunately, for many people, this feeling is closer to the truth than you may think.

‘How Many Hours in a Year? How Many Work Hours?’ are questions you may find yourself asking. The average year consists of 365 days and around 8,760 hours. 

So, if you’re wondering how many of those precious hours you spend in the office, then it’s time to find out…

The Average Annual Working Hours

The Average Annual Working Hours

The amount of time you spend in the office will depend on a number of factors. These include the demands of your job, the country you work in, and your seniority. However, it is possible to use the average by assuming you work forty hours each week.

On average, there are 2,080 working hours in a single calendar year. This figure is based on a typical 40-hour workweek multiplied by 52 weeks in a year. However, when you adjust for the fluctuations in different years, the number becomes 2,087.

Include your commute to work!

However, it is also important to take public holidays and other time off into account. Most full-time employees are provided with twelve paid vacation days and eight public holidays annually. When you take these days into account, the average time spent in the office is reduced to 1,920 hours annually. 

No matter how you look at it, this is a large amount of time to spend in the office. If you spend an hour or two commuting to the office each day, this number goes up considerably. When you add in the amount of time you spend doing chores and boring tasks, your free time shrinks dramatically. 

Working Changes Through History

Working Changes Through History

If you think that you spend too much time at your job, it is worth putting it in a historical context. Most people spend between twenty and thirty hours less in paid employment per year than people in the 19th century. 

In the year 1870, the average person spent three thousand hours annually in paid employment. Since then, this figure has been falling fairly steadily. Censuses conducted in 1990 reported that the figure had fallen to a relatively low 1,500 to 2,000 hours annually. 

Trying to impress your boss…

However, this steady decline has recently slowed down, and the figure is on the rise once again. Many employees feel increased pressure to spend longer and longer in the office to impress their bosses. Increased commute times have also significantly eaten into the amount of leisure time that people can enjoy. 

How Many Hours In A Year? How Many Work Hours? – The Averages In Different Countries

If you feel like you are spending too much time in the office, it may be time to change locations. The average time spent in full-time employment changes dramatically in different countries. This is based on a range of social, economic, and cultural factors.



The people in this Southeast Asian nation spend much longer than average in full-time employment. The average workweek here is 47 hours. This translates to an average of around 2,456 hours annually. Despite this, Cambodians still have a small amount of disposable income compared to people in other countries. 

Working time in the UK 

People in the United Kingdom typically spend 36.6 hours in paid employment. This translates to an average of 1,538 hours annually. It is important to note that this figure is below the average for most OECD nations.

Working time in Germany

Between 1870 and 2010, the average time spent in paid employment fell by 40% in Germany. The average German works 34.3 hours weekly, or 1,363 annually. This figure is also slightly below the average for most OECD nations. 

Working time in the EU 

There are strict European Union laws that govern the amount of time people can spend in paid employment. The law limits the number to 48 hours per week, including paid overtime. However, most people who live in the European Union spend less time than this in paid employment. The weekly average is 36.2 hours.

Of course, the European Union is composed of several countries, and this number varies slightly from country to country. In Belgium, self-employed people generally spend around 52.8 hours weekly in paid employment. This figure falls to 39.1 weekly hours for those who are employed by a company. 

Working time in the US

Working time in the US

The average American spends 1,768 hours each year in formal employment. This is just under 39 hours each week, although this number is starting to rise. The average American spends 19% more time in formal employment than Europeans. This translates to an average of 258 hours annually or an extra hour each day.  

How Many Hours in a Year? How Many Work Hours? – Countries With The Shortest Workweeks 

Many countries understand that working more doesn’t necessarily equal higher productivity. Some countries have set limits on the length of the average workweek. Many international companies are starting to use the success of these countries as employment models. 


People in Denmark typically enjoy the shortest workweeks in the world. The nation’s people are also ranked as being some of the happiest in the world. This is partly due to the concept of enjoying pleasurable things with good people that is ingrained in the culture.

However, the focus on relaxation in Denmark is not entirely positive. There is a severe shortage of workers in fields such as IT, healthcare, education, construction workers, and computer science. If you want to work less and have specialist skills, it might be worth considering moving to Denmark. 


This country enjoys the second shortest workweek in the world and is a very beautiful place to love. The nation is also blessed with the world’s safest drivers, making road trips through the country very enjoyable. There is a severe shortage of technology specialists in Norway, so consider making the move if you have the skills. 



Germany boasts the largest economy in Europe as well as one of the lowest unemployment rates. The average salary in this country is relatively high, and employees enjoy a wide range of benefits. 

While there are generally fewer worker shortages than in neighboring countries, there is still a shortage in certain industries. If you are an IT professional, software engineer, economist, or medical professional, you have a good chance of finding employment. 

The Netherlands

This nation is also known for its happy people and relaxed approach to work. The unemployment rate in the Netherlands is very low, to the point where there is a shortage in certain industries. Consider moving to the Netherlands if you are an ICT professional or civil engineer. 


Iceland is generally considered to be the most peaceful country in the world, and people understand the importance of relaxation. While the country’s job market is small, there is still a need for workers in particular industries. This includes IT, tourism, healthcare, and construction. If you have the skills to pay the bills, relocating to Iceland could work for you. 

Countries With The Longest Workweeks

Not everyone in the world is treated to the same amount of leisure time. In some countries, the habit of working hard has been ingrained in the national culture. If you want to reduce the amount of time you spend tolling away, you may want to avoid the following countries. 


The employment rate in Cambodia is 80%, which is significantly higher than many neighboring nations. However, most Cambodians have to work very hard to make ends meet. This is because salaries tend to be low, while the cost of living is comparatively high. 

However, Cambodia is rapidly developing, and things may be improving for the nation’s people. There has been an emphasis on training employees to work more effectively in recent years. Hopefully, this will translate to shorter workweeks for the nation’s people. 



This country is currently evolving from an agricultural economy to an economy centered on service and industry. However, people in this country are still expected to take on very long hours to keep their job. As the country develops, there is hope that the average workweek will become shorter. 


Bangladesh is one of the most rapidly growing economies in the world and is approaching middle-income country status. As a result, the number of people living above the poverty line is also increasing. However, most people have to take on long workweeks, at least for the time being. 


This island nation boasts a highly developed economy and is one of the world’s most prosperous nations. While many people take on very long workweeks, they are well rewarded for their efforts. If you are in the financial industry and willing to work hard, you could score a high salary in Singapore. 


The economy in Malaysia is rapidly growing thanks to the hard work of people in certain industries. While many people take on long workweeks, they receive competitive salaries. However, this is not the ideal country for work-shy people to live in. 

How To Spend Less Time At Work

After seeing the figures in black and white, you probably feel like you are working too much. Spending more time in the office isn’t necessarily the same thing as being more productive. Here are some ways to make sure you work smarter and take back some of your leisure time. 

1 Apply the 80/20 rule 

According to the Pareto Principle, only 20% of our efforts account for 80% of the results. This means that the majority of the tasks we do in the office don’t have anywhere near the impact of some. The key to working less is finding a way to eliminate unnecessary effort. 

2 Set yourself deadlines

Set yourself deadlines

Most people produce their best work when they are under pressure. Having a set deadline forces people to focus on their work rather than allowing themselves to become distracted. 

The problem in most modern offices is that deadlines are few and far between. This generally means that employees do not feel the same sense of urgency and take longer to complete tasks.

Break down your workload…

Setting yourself deadlines is a good way to increase your productivity within a certain period. You can do this by breaking your workload into separate tasks. Assign short periods to complete each task, like thirty, sixty, or ninety minutes. You are sure to find that you get more tasks completed and may even be able to leave the office earlier. 

3 Get more rest

Trying to focus on different tasks when you are tired and unmotivated can be very difficult. You are sure to find that even the simplest tasks take longer to complete when you are tired and stressed. This can also have a serious impact on the quality of your work.

Rather than trying to focus for several hours at a time, it is better to take multiple breaks. Studies have shown that the maximum amount of time we can focus efficiently is two hours. Taking a short break every two hours will help to make sure you are more productive.

Don’t take work home with you…

It is also important to make sure you take advantage of your leisure time to unwind. Rather than taking your work home with you, use this opportunity to spend time with friends and family. You are sure to find that you get more done at the office the next day after having a rest. 

4 Stop being a perfectionist

Many people spend much more time than is strictly necessary on certain projects. There is a lot of pressure to make work perfect to impress bosses. However, much of this extra work is unnecessary and doesn’t add value to the work. It is important to assess whether or not the extra work is necessary before committing to it. 

5 Track your output

Your intuition is likely to guide you to the way you work best and are most productive. However, it is a good idea to have some statistics to back up these feelings. These statistics can be used to show you the time of day you get the most work done and in which environment.

If you have your sights set on working from home, these statistics may make a strong case for you. Alternatively, you may discover that you are most productive in an office environment. Tracking your output will help you understand the best working style for your needs and how to utilize it. 

6 Stick to a schedule

While weekends can be fun, trying to readjust to a working schedule at the end of the break can be hard. The best way to do this is to get up and go to bed at the same time every day. Setting a routine and sticking to it will make it easier to focus when you get down to work. As a result, you are sure to find that you are more productive. 

7 Make mornings work for you

Most people are highly productive in the morning, as long as they get enough rest. Waking up earlier and hitting the gym before going to the office can help to unleash your potential. Alternatively, you could use that extra time to unwind and make sure you are fully focused later.

8 Enjoy your vacation time

Enjoy your vacation time

If you are employed full-time, you are entitled to take a certain number of vacation days every year. Many people choose to skip those vacation days because they are afraid of falling behind. However, it is necessary to take this break to get enough rest and relaxation. 

Spending quality time with friends and family also helps you to focus more easily when you return to the office. 

All About Working Hours And Pay!

Not sure what kind of job you’re looking for? No problem, take a look at the difference between Part Time And Full Time Hours, along with my 20 Part Time Jobs That Pay More Than 20 Per Hour, my 15 Part Time Jobs That Pay More Than 40 Per Hour, and how about my top Flexible Jobs That Let You Set Your Own Hours if you like working from home!

Now that you have your first job, you might be wondering How To Get A Pay Stub, or if you’ve received your first paycheck, check out How Do I Convert Salary To Hourly To Calculate A Part-Time Rate, as well as what is the difference between Salary Vs Hourly Pay, and Gross Pay Vs Net Pay in 2023.

Or perhaps your interview is coming up soon, and you’re dreading discussing the salary; if so, check out how to answer quaestions like What Are Your Salary ExpectationsHow To Answer Desired Salary, and lastly, How To Counteroffer Your Salary After A Job Offer if you’re looking to play hardball!

How Many Hours in a Year? How Many Work Hours? – Final Thoughts

So, now that you realize how much time you spend in the office, you are sure to want to reduce it. The first step to doing this is finding ways to boost your productivity. When you are properly rested and focused, you are sure to find that you produce more work in less time.

If your productivity has increased significantly, it is time to talk to your boss about reducing your hours. It may be beneficial to spend a couple of days a week working from home. This will allow you to set your working environment and spend more quality time with your family.

Good luck, and I hope you find that perfect working balance!

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