Four out of five workers in France enjoy their work – with 39% of them even saying they would continue to work even if they won the lottery.
Working among friends is the main reason for people enjoying working life and 69% said they laughed often at work while three-quarters said they had co-workers or former co-workers among their close friends and one in five had gone on holiday with a colleague.
The look at the French working day comes in a study by the CFDT union which had replies from 200,000 people, making it the biggest inquiry into French working life.
Two-thirds of people said they were treated as people, not machines, while 55% said they were able to try out their own ideas to see how they worked.
Sign up to our free weekly e-newsletter
Subscribe to access all our online articles and receive our printed monthly newspaper The Connexion at your home. News analysis, features and practical help for English-speakers in France
The study showed that 38% said they would not be happy without work while 54% said they did not work to make the most money possible.
However, not everything was rosy with three quarters of respondents lamenting a lack of autonomy and wishing for a less-organised day.
Speaking to journalists on the results, CFDT national secretary Hervé Garnier said there was a noticeable link between those who said they felt badly about work and those with health problems. They were three times more likely to say they had trouble sleeping and nine times more likely to say they took medicines because of work.
Half of people said they had too much work to do and 58% said they did not have enough time to do it properly.
However, 42% of respondents did not think the 35-hour week was the problem. Those who worked up to 39 hours a week, 65% said the working day worked well with their personal lives but this fell to under 50% once work stretched to 40 or 47 hours and less than 30% once they were working more than 48hours a week.
Overall, 32% would rather work less while 66% would rather have more pay in their pockets.
The CFDT says it is leaving its Parlons Travail questionnaire up on its website so that people can continue to reply and help the union prepare its position in the future.