Happy Labor Day to all my American readers! For a lot of people, Labor Day means two things: a day off and the end of summer. However, Labor Day is a day set aside to pay tribute to working men and women and acknowledges the value and dignity of work and its role in American life.
Labor Day, an annual celebration of workers and their achievements, originated during one of American labor history’s most dismal chapters. In the late 1800s, at the height of the Industrial Revolution in the United States, the average American worked 12-hour days and seven-day weeks in order to eke out a basic living.
Over the years, it has evolved from a purely labor union celebration into a general "last fling of summer" festival. It’s a good thing to enjoy your last summer holiday. But it’s also a good thing to respect and honor those who didn’t have the favorable working conditions we have now. It’s a good thing to remember those who fought very hard for workers’ rights. The purpose of the holiday is to celebrate the social and economic achievements of America’s workers. Labor Day celebrates us all — our achievements and contributions to the strength, prosperity, and safety of our nation.
In honor of today's Labor Day holiday, here are nine "interesting office facts":
1. Americans spend at least 1,896 hours a year at work.
2. One percent of U.S. employers allow employees to take naps during working hours.
3. Women business owners employ 35 percent more people than all the Fortune 500 companies combined.
4. Americans now spend more than 100 hours a year commuting to work.
5. More than 50% of lost work days are stress related, keeping approximately 1 million people home from work every day.
6. When we think, we only use 35 percent of our brains.
7. More people walk to work in Alaska than any other U.S. state.
8. The average office worker spends 50 minutes a day looking for lost files and other items.
9. Forty percent of worker turnover is due to job stress.
10. People spend one in every four and a half minutes online on social networks and blogs.
Americans need today's holiday, since we work more than anyone in the industrialized world. We also take fewer vacations, work longer days, and retire later. And the trend is not positive. One expert concluded back in 1990 that we work nearly one month more per year than in 1970, and time pressures have only gotten worse since.
We celebrate Labor Day because we are all in this world of work together. Let’s enjoy the fruits of our labor and the solidarity of workers, the work we do, and the nation and economy we and our parents and their parents have built. Happy Labor Day!