, Hong Kong

Hong Kong workers at risk due to overwork

A study confirms most Hong Kong workers stay late and bring work home with them.

Over half (57%) of surveyed respondents in Hong Kong work nine or more hours per day and almost 40% regularly take work home to finish in the evening. This evidence of the city’s long working hours is seen in the latest global report from Regus, the world's largest provider of flexible workplaces, which canvassed the opinions of over 12,000 business people in 85 countries, including over 100 in Hong Kong.

According to the report, ‘From dedication to medication: A study into the length of the working day and its impact on employee health’, pressure on working hours has increased in recent years because of slow economic recovery in mature economies and, conversely, very rapid growth in emerging ones, according to a Regus report.

Key findings include:

57% of Hong Kong white collar workers usually work nine or more hours per day compared to 32% in China, 50% in Singapore, 47% in Japan, 46% in USA and 48% globally;

In Hong Kong, 42% of workers take tasks home to finish at the end of the day more than three times a week compared to 29% in China, 50% in Singapore, 28% in Japan, 56% in USA and 43% globally;

In Hong Kong, 39% of women work nine hours or more per day compared to 69.5% of men. Globally, only 5% of women work 60 hours per week compared to more than twice that (12%) for men. They are also less likely (32%) to take work home to complete more than three times a week, than men (48%);

Remote workers (flexible and mobile workers) globally are more likely to work eleven hours per day (14%) than fixed office workers (6%) and to take tasks home to finish (59%) than fixed office workers (26%). In Hong Kong, 12.8% remote workers work eleven hours per day compared to 6.6% fixed office workers. 48.7% remote workers will take tasks home to finish compared to 37.7% fixed office workers ;

Workers in smaller companies globally were more likely to take work home with them (48%) more than three times a week than those working in large firms (29%).

Hans Leijten, Regus' Regional Vice President, East Asia comments: "This study finds a clear blurring of the line between work and home. The long-term effects of this over-work could be damaging both to workers' health and to overall productivity as workers drive themselves too hard and become disaffected, depressed or even physically ill.

"While women were found to be less likely to work longer hours, probably because they are more likely to be employed in part-time work, small company workers are more likely to clock up the hours than large company employees. Workers in small businesses are perhaps more likely to feel that the impact of the single employee on the success of a project is more marked."

"While our survey found remote and mobile workers generally worked longer hours, there is a growing body of evidence suggesting that remote workers are more productive, have a higher job satisfaction and lower stress levels. These workers typically spend far less time commuting, freeing-up more time for their job. Businesses that enable their employees to work from locations closer to home and manage their time more independently will offset the stress of a poor work-life balance and gain more productive, committed and healthy staff," said Leijten.

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