Working Facts
Working Facts

43 Interesting Working Facts

Karin Lehnardt
By Karin Lehnardt, Senior Writer
Published November 21, 2018Updated October 4, 2019
  • People who don't take office politics seriously are more successful and efficient at work.[17]
  • Employees who have more control over the layout and design of their workspace are healthier and happier in the office.[5]
  • When office temperatures are low (68 degrees), employees make 44% more errors and are less productive than when temperatures are warmer (77 degrees).[19]
  • Scientists note that employees should keep working until the age of 80, but that they should only work 25 hours a week for optimal productivity.[6]
  • Procrastinating a project for work can increase focus and efficiency.[1]
  • Weird Facts about Working
    Multitasking on the job can actually slow you down
  • Multitasking at work can drop a person's IQ by ten points, which is equivalent to losing a night of sleep and twice the effect of smoking marijuana.[3]
  • Younger workers in the United States are injured at twice the rate of older workers. They are also at higher risk for car accidents at work due to less driving experience, lower use of seatbelts, and being more distracted.[23]
  • While working past retirement age often has positive effects, such as a sense of purpose and inclusion in social networks, older workers are often discriminated against.[4]
  • Working does not guarantee escaping poverty. In fact, as many as 40% of international workers do not earn enough to live above the poverty line.[15]
  • Around the world, the workweek usually falls between 40–44 hours per week, but not everywhere. France's workweek average is around 35 hours per week, while in North Korea, those in labor camps work over 112 hours per week.[6]
  • Early hunter-gatherers had more leisure time than those who live and work in a modern capitalist or agrarian society.[8]
  • The Industrial Revolution allowed people to work longer and year-round. Labor was no longer tied to the season or natural lighting.[8]
  • Nearly 80% of American workers are dissatisfied with their jobs.[14]
  • Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.

    - Aristotle

  • In the mid 2000s, the Netherlands became the first industrialized country to drop its work week hours to below 30 hours.[21]
  • The word "work" is from the Proto-Indo-European word *werg, meaning "to do."[22]
  • The word "employ" is from the Latin implicare, meaning to "enfold, involve, associate."[7]
  • The word "boss" is from the Dutch baas, meaning "a master."[2]
  • Over a lifetime, the average person spends about 90,000 hours at work.[14]
  • Before the age of 40, Americans hold between seven to eight different jobs.[14]
  • Every year, the average American spends over 100 hours commuting.[14]
  • The average office chair with wheels travels about eight miles per year.[18]
  • Office Chair Fact
    Charles Darwin invented the modern office chair when he added wheels to his own chair, so he could move around his office easier

  • Next to fatal traffic accidents, falling is the number one cause of fatalities at work.[14]
  • Nearly 60% of people report checking their work email over Christmas and Thanksgiving.[14]
  • The United States lags far behind more industrialized nations in family-oriented policies, such as maternity leave, paid sick days, and breastfeeding support.[15]
  • In a phenomenon known as "karoshi," a high number of Japanese drop dead at the work desk as a result of their 60–70-hour workweek. Every year, over 10,000 Japanese suffer "karoshi."[14]
  • Recirculated office air can make employees sick. Known as "Sick Building Syndrome," the malaise includes dry skin, fatigue, headaches, and irritated eyes, nose, and throat. Symptoms usually disappear after leaving the building.[10]
  • The average work desk is home to 400 times more bacteria than the average toilet seat.[9]
  • The three most common jobs in America are 1) salesperson, 2) cashier, and 3) fast-food worker.[15]
  • The consistently ranked worst job in the world is manual sewer cleaner.[15]
  • Worst Job in the World
    The worst job in the world?

  • Most countries celebrate Labor Day or Worker's Day on May 1st, except for the United States and Canada.[11]
  • In South Korea, one-fifth of young people dream of becoming a K-pop star.[11]
  • Breathing toner particles from photocopiers and printers is as bad for the lungs as smoking and can irritate eyes, nose, and lungs.[12]
  • Twenty-four percent of commuters say that when they are stuck in traffic, they think "deep" thoughts.[18]
  • Someone who works nights is almost twice as likely to have an accident than someone who works during the day.[18]
  • The average worker in America receives 201 email, paper, and phone messages—per day.[18]
  • Once an item is filed away, there is a 98% chance it will never be seen again.[18]
  • How to Find a Lost Item
    That's almost an entire hour
  • The average worker spends at least 50 minutes a day looking for lost items and files.[18]
  • For every 1,470 resumes received, an employer will hire just one person.[18]
  • Before the Pregnancy Discrimination Act in 1978, American women could get fired from a job for being pregnant.[16]
  • In Russia, women cannot work as truckers, ship captains, and at least 456 other jobs. The government deemed them "too dangerous" for women.[20]
  • In China, women are barred from being miners because, according to the Chinese government, women cannot carry heavy loads or escape quickly in the case of an accident.[20]
  • In France, women are prohibited from any job that involves carrying loads heavier than 55 lbs (25 kilograms). Women also cannot transport more than 99 lbs (45 kilograms) in a wheelbarrow.[20]
  • Weird Working Facts INFOGRAPHIC
    Fun Working Infographic
  • Those who commute short distances or cycle to work are more likely to be happy commuters, which leads to increased productivity at work. Those who have longer commutes and/or drive tend to be less happy and less productive at work.[13]

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