Hong Kong workaholics will get no break at Christmas
Survey finds Hong Kong businesspeople can't let go of work during their holidays, despite research indicating a break reduces stress levels and increases work performance
Hong Kong, 17 December 2014 – While the world winds down for Christmas, 75 per cent of Hong Kong professionals will likely continue working during their precious holidays, indicates research by Regus, the global workplace provider.
In a poll conducted last year of more than 26,000 business people from 96 countries – including over 200 from Hong Kong – 51 per cent of local respondents reported they planned to work between one and three hours a day during their holidays, while 24 per cent planned to devote over three hours a day to work tasks. These numbers were staggeringly higher than the global averages of 41 per cent and 17 per cent respectively.
"The dedication to work that these findings reflect is admirable," said Michael Ormiston, Country Manager, Regus Hong Kong. "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', so they can devote their holidays to relaxing,” he said.
Work related stress accounts for 39 per cent of all work related illnesses, according to statistics from the UK Health and Safety Executive, with 11.3 million working days lost during financial year 2013 to 2014 in Great Britain – an average of 23 days per case of stress, depression or anxiety.
“Being able to connect from any location is great, but workers really need to carve out time to switch off," urges leading expert Professor Thomas Cox CBE, Chair of Occupational Health Psychology & Management, Birkbeck College, University of London. "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.”
Over the Christmas break, employees should be encouraged to take a “digital detox” to reduce stress levels, suggests Michael. “This could mean anything from not taking your phone with you on holiday, choosing a hotel without Wi-Fi or going on a hard-core digital detox holiday, with absolutely no digital access.”
Using the Christmas break is also a good time to reflect on work practices – what is efficient and productive, and what isn’t, as well as ways to reduce stress levels in the office.
Recent research has shown that ensuring proper breaks boosts work productivity and performance.
“A new and growing body of multidisciplinary research shows that strategic renewal – including daytime workouts, short afternoon naps, longer sleep hours, more time away from the office and longer, more frequent vacations – boosts productivity,” said Tony Schwartz, CEO of the Energy Project that advises multi-national corporations on how to engage and produce productive employees, in a New York Times article published last year.
Michael encourages employees to formulate a plan to build “me time” into every day in the New Year.
“Write a list of four to five non-work things that you love and focus on them. Try meditation, some form of exercise – both of which have been shown to enhance the ability to switch off – or just get to grips with that book you’ve been meaning to read. Start with just 10 minutes a day and gradually increase it.”
And if employees can’t resist the temptation to log on during the holidays, “relaxing and taking time out are good for both your mental and physical health,” reminded Michael. “Reward yourself for taking time out and accept that if you’re relaxed and de-stressed, you’ll be much more motivated and productive when you get home.”
Regus is the global workplace provider.
Its network of more than 2,000 business centres in 104 countries provides convenient, high-quality, fully serviced spaces for people to work, whether for a few minutes or a few years. Companies like Google, Toshiba and GlaxoSmithKline choose Regus so that they can work flexibly and make their businesses more successful.
The key to flexible working is convenience and so Regus is opening wherever its 1.8 million members want support - city centres, suburban districts, shopping centres and retail outlets, railway stations, motorway service stations and even community centres.
Founded in Brussels, Belgium, in 1989, Regus is based in Luxembourg and listed on the London Stock Exchange. For more information, please visit: www.regus.com