When it comes to managing professional and personal lives, Americans seem to have a problem. A study recently published by economics experts Elena Stancanelli and Daniel S. Hamermesh proves it: The average American workweek is 41 hours, which is at least three hours more than their European counterparts. A whopping 32% of Americans work at least 45 hours per week; Germans follow closely behind with an impressive 18% of the workforce putting in at least 45 hours per week.
Quite simply, Americans are workaholics. The task of separating one’s personal and professional lives is nearly impossible for many people these days.
Separating the two is even harder for those Americans who work from home, and especially for those who own or manage their own business. When money runs low and resources are scarce, the basement slowly turns into a work-from-home office and the personal computer becomes filled with important work documents.
That being said, there has been a steep increase in the amount of people who voluntarily want to work from home, and the fact that the modern office is slowly becoming entirely digital is facilitating more businesses to be based outside of the traditional office environment. PC World recently cited the latest U.S. Census Report, which showed that the number of Americans working from home has tripled since 1980.
It’s no surprise that the American workweek has increased so much, especially considering the concurrent rise in employees telecommuting from home.
But it’s interesting to note that an industry of new products, aimed at helping people separate home from work, has also popped up and become popular among American consumers. A smartphone app called “Enforced Vacation,” for example, automatically turns off access to your work email when you go home. A variety of other programs focus on automatically backing up work files to the cloud and performing sensitive IT tasks.
It seems unlikely that the “work from home” trend will dwindle in the coming years — but with so many new products and services that are geared specifically toward this audience, the benefits of working from home may slowly start to overpower the hazy home life/ work life balance.