I had to tell this story, because I see it regularly. I've had some interesting observations on the work culture to two sides of a border, Canada and the US.
I happen to work at a company with subsidiaries on both sides of the border, though it's a Canadian company and head office is in Canada. We have some large offices in southern US, too. I never thought of us (I'm on the Canadian side) as particular hard workers. We get lots of paid vacation, free days off galore, and pretty damn good pay to boot. On a Friday afternoon the office is dead, we do lots of "fun" events, people read newspapers in the morning, and mood is generally pretty relaxed. (though we do have people on call for critical IT support). In other words, there's a good amount of slack and if we have a reason not to be in the office we'll take it.
I would almost say we're pretty lazy - until I see us relative to our US counterparts. There is a just a pervasive culture there of not getting things done. Here, we expect expediency and resolution to problems.. when things were passed to our US offices, it was almost impossible to get them to commit to any dates, which was just standard practice here. Here, there was pressure to have things done quickly, and it is self-created too, this just doesn't exist in the US. Any or no reason at all to avoid a task or simply not following up on things.
I do however consider this might be a southern attitude towards work as well, as most of my interaction is with offices based in the US south (Texas to Florida).