Where do you need move to for the shortest working week?

Do Parisians defy the stereotype?

Caucasian couple relaxing near Eiffel Tower, Paris, France

If you want more free time, move to France. Parisian workers put in more than 100 fewer hours a year than those in London, a survey shows.

According to research from UBS cited in the Daily Telegraph, French people worked the fewest hours last year. On average, Parisians clocked up 30 hours and 50 minutes a week, compared with the 33 and a half hours worked by Londoners.

Lyon, Moscow and Helsinki are the cities with the next-shortest working hours.

Compared with many countries, though, we don't do badly, ranking at 17th of the 71 cities rated by the report and working 8% less than the global average.

In Hong Kong, for example, the average working week is 50 hours. New York, Beijing and Tokyo are also pretty industrious, with their workers clocking up 35.5 hours, 37.7 hours and 39.5 hours respectively.

But if it's longer holidays you want, the best place to head for is Bahrain. Here, workers get an average 34 days off every year. In the UK, the minimum is just 25 days, although that's two days more than the global average.

And pity workers in Shanghai, Bangkok and Beijing, where workers get just seven, nine and ten days' annual leave respectively.

Research has shown that working longer hours can increase the chances of suffering a stroke. Scientists at University College London found last year that people working 41 to 48 hours a week were 10% more likely to suffer a stroke than those working 35 to 40. Working 55 or more hours raised the risk by a third.

But fewer working hours doesn't necessarily mean that less gets done. A recent experiment in Sweden has revealed that employees not only have better health if they work a six-hour day, but that they are more productive too. Many businesses are cutting their working week as a result.

And a surprising number of Brits say they'd be prepared to take a pay cut in return for fewer hours - one in four, according to a recent survey from the Scottish Widows' think-tank the Centre for the Modern Family.

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