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Working long hours for weeks on end actually decreases productivity, according to a series of studies on the work habits of Americans. The results over working too much are a more disgruntled workforce and less efficient economy. "A study from Ernst & Young found that every ten hours of vacation time taken by an employee boosted her year-end performance rating by 8 percent and lowered turnover. Former NASA scientists found that people who take vacations experience an 82 percent increase in job performance upon their return, with longer vacations making more of an impact than short ones."

What's the Big Idea?

In Europe and America, the 40-hour work week is increasingly a thing of the past. The two continents, however, are moving in opposite directions. As Europeans work less, Americans work more: "Ninety-four percent of professional workers put in 50 or more hours, and nearly half work 65 or above," with professionals, managers, and executives with smartphones checking their devices 72 hours per week. What is most troubling is that all our extra effort hasn't paid off one bit in real economic terms. White and blue collar workers have experienced a decade with no real wage increases while "the infamous 1% have taken home 47 percent of total income growth between 1976 and 2007."

Read more at the New Republic

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