Hard-pressed Hong Kong professionals will lose out on precious holiday time this summer, according to research from Regus, a provider of flexible workplaces.
In a poll earlier this year of more than 26,000 business people from 96 countries – including over 200 from Hong Kong – 51 percent of the local respondents reported that they would work between one and three hours a day during their summer holidays, while 24 percent planned to devote over three hours a day to work tasks. Both figures were higher than the global averages of 41 percent and 17 percent respectively.
The problem was particularly acute among Hong Kong professional men, with 62 percent planning to work one to three hours per day, compared to a global average for men of 44 percent. Among local female professionals, the figure was far lower, at 33 percent, and slightly lower than the global average for professional women of 35 percent.
"It is documented that giving workers some control over their work and the way they do it can help reduce work stress," said leading expert Professor Thomas Cox CBE, Chair of Occupational Health Psychology & Management, Birkbeck College, University of London. "In particular, offering workers some freedom to manage how and when they work can help them achieve a better work/life balance, ensuring that time devoted to family and relaxation is not impeded by work or stress. Being able to connect from any location is great, but workers really need to carve out time to switch off."
The prevalence of working on holiday among Hong Kong professionals was also higher than that of professionals in Singapore, although the 45% of Singaporeans planning to work one to three hours per day was still above the global average.
Results for Mainland Chinese professionals were mixed: while 30 percent plan to work one to three hours per day (significantly lower than their Hong Kong counterparts), another 30 percent said they would work more than three hours per day – higher than the Hong Kong figure of 24 percent.
"The dedication to work that these findings reflect is admirable, with a huge percentage of professionals taking work away with them," said John Henderson, Chief Finance Officer, Regus Asia-Pacific. "However, this can also be interpreted as an indication that they feel overstretched or insecure in their jobs and are unable to properly switch off. The effects of workplace stress are well known, so it is important that workers allow themselves some 'downtime'.
"While technology such as video communications and Wi-Fi has certainly made working from almost anywhere a reality, this should be channeled towards helping professionals work more flexibly and productively. Allowing workers to reduce their commute or to work closer to home can help them work more
efficiently, so they can devote their holidays to relaxing."