Is working life better in London or Paris?

A new survey has pitted the working lives of Londoners and Parisians against each other.

Is working life better in London or Paris?
The Paris commerce capital La Defense. Photo: AFP

A recent survey of 3,000 employees on either side of the Channel has tried to answer whether it's better to work in the French or English capital.

The poll, carried out by the French institution of public opinion (Ifop) and office specialists SFL, took into account working hours, commute times, and even satisfaction with the respondents' office space. 

So which side of the channel offers the crème de la crème when it comes to working life?

1) The commute

Londoners spend 24 minutes more on public transport each day than their Parisian counterparts, the survey found. That adds up to eight full working days a year. 

The average commute in the English capital is two hours long, compared to 96 minutes in Paris. This can largely be put down to the higher property prices in central London, making it harder for employees to live close to their work places.

Despite this 69 percent of Londoners surveyed said that they were still satisfied with the length of their commute. Meanwhile, some 71 percent of Parisians were satisfied. 

Photo: AFP

2) Working hours

Londoners don't just spend more time on public transport, but in the office too. Perhaps it's no surprise that the French had fewer working hours, not least considering a study this week that found French people work the fewest hours a year in the whole EU. 

Parisians spend an average of 8 hours and 6 minutes a day in their offices compared to Londoners’ 8 hours and 24 minutes. In London, the average working day starts at 8:24am and ends 5:36pm. In Paris the day typically starts at 8.42am and finishes at 6pm. 

What makes the London working day longer is that a Parisian lunchtime lasts an hour and 12 minutes, compared to only 48 minutes in London.

3) Social life

This lunch break proves an essential part of office social life, with 84 percent of French regularly eating together compared to only 58 percent of workers in London.

Londoners opt to socialise in the evening instead. Seventy percent of those employees working in London said they regularly have a drink after work with their colleagues, almost triple the 25 percent of Parisian workers who would do the same.

4) Office life

Londoners are more satisfied with their offices, the survey found, scoring the quality of office life at 6.9 out of 10 compared to Parisians' score of 6.4. Quality of life at work considered internet connection, the comfort of the work station, the design of communal areas, and the quality of meeting rooms.

Parisians who spent more time at their office tended to offer a favourable opinion, whilst Londoners who spent less time in their work spaces rated their work life quality higher.

On the whole Londoners were more likely than Parisians to work in open spaces (56 percent compared to 43 percent), and workers in the English capital city were also three times more likely to have their own office.

However when it comes to the importance placed on the office, Paris comes out on top by a long way.

In Paris, 89 percent of employees believe that the office impacts their well-being (compared to 64 percent of Londoners) and 85 percent of Parisians say their office has an impact on their motivation (compared to 63 percent of their English colleagues).

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French ‘have more sex while working from home’, poll claims

For most people working from home means rarely changing out of PJs and spending a lot of time on zoom calls - but respondents to one French poll said for them it's an opportunity to have more sex.

French 'have more sex while working from home', poll claims
A change from the classic work-from-home outfit of pyjamas. Photo: AFP

A poll conducted by Ifop for extra-marital dating site Gleeden reported one third of respondents (34 percent) saying they had had sex during working hours while on télétravail (home working) and one third of people said they had more desire for their partner since the second lockdown in October.

In total 18 percent of people said they are having more sex now than they did before the pandemic.

“I've got into the habit, since I've been working at home, of taking a little nap in the middle of the day,” web designer Tomas told Le Parsien, “and my girlfriend often joins me”.

“Sometimes we even warm up beforehand with very explicit messages. In the end, it doesn't take us long, we are very relaxed afterwards and just as efficient when we get back behind our screens to work. Frankly, it's better than a cigarette break in the cold outside the office.”
The trend was particularly marked among couples with children, when working hours have become time spent together at home without the children around.
“Unlike in the spring, the children are at school and without our travel time, our days are longer,” said Sophie, a civil servant based in Strasbourg, who works two days a week at home with her husband.
However, some of the participants told pollsters that lockdown and working from home had lead to a drop in morale and libido, while others said being with their partners all day dampened their desire.
The French government still recommends télétravail for those who can, but in January released an updated protocol adding extra days in office for those who wanted them, recognising the impact of loneliness and isolation on many home-workers.
The poll – entitled The sexual and emotional life of the French during the second lockdown – was carried out on 2,017 over-18s between November 24th and 30th.