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Study finds HK workers hard at work even during vacations

Veronica C. Silva | July 17, 2012
Regus warns that this trend could lead to job stress.

A recent study of workers has revealed that workaholics are growing in numbers, to the point that they can't turn off their netbooks or smartphones even while they are vacationing.

A workplace provider warned that this can lead to job stress and might affect employee productivity in the long run.

Regus, which provides flexible workplaces, recently released the Hong Kong segment of its global study of work habits of workaholics, defined as those who can't take time off from work even during vacations.

The study revealed that over half, or 56 percent, of Hong Kong workers are going to fit three hours of work each day even while they are on vacation. Some so-called "serious workaholics" or 26 percent of Hong Kong workers will even work more than three hours each day on vacation.

"Developments in technology mean that workers are always connected and the temptation to check e-mails and complete any tasks that follow on from them is easy to succumb to," said Hans Leijten, vice-president, East Asia, Regus. "With smart phones, netbooks and internet connections everywhere, it has become very difficult to really switch off, but taking a break and devoting time to rest, family and friends is vital to staying healthy.

Business as usual

The study also revealed that while workers want to go on vacation, they can't take their minds off work. Fifty-four percent of respondents said they "will deal with e-mail, make calls, and attend to significant pieces of work while on holiday." Respondents refer to this as "slightly reduced business as usual."

Leijten warned that this work habit can be stressful, and suggested that organisations rethink their work policy, including studying other workplace options. 

"Burning the midnight oil in a usually unsuccessful attempt to work and take an active part in the family holiday can only bring workers one step closer to burnout and spoils the fun for everyone. Businesses urgently need to look at measures like reducing commuting time for workers and enabling them to work closer to home. The widely-acknowledged increases in productivity that such measures generate may mean that employees feel more able to truly switch off when they are on holiday," added Leijten.


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