Unhappy employees

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In terms of working hours, the city ranked the third-highest in APAC (41 hours/week), with Singapore topping the ranking (45 hours/week), followed by Malaysia and Mainland China in second spot (42 hours/week).

Building a happy and productive workforce is always top-of-mind for business and HR leaders, however, the culture of overworking prevalent in Asia is dragging them farther away from achieving their goal.

A new study by Instant Offices has revealed that only 28% of employees in Hong Kong said they were happy at work, in other words, close to three-quarters (72%) of them were not content, and being overworked may be a major reason that contributes to that.

The study compared average working hours, annual leave, and workplace happiness to determine which APAC markets have the strongest culture of overworking.

In terms of working hours, the city ranked the third-highest in APAC (41 hours/week), with Singapore topping the ranking (45 hours/week), followed by Malaysia and Mainland China in second spot (42 hours/week).

Here’s the breakdown across 10 APAC countries/regions:

Location

Working hours per week

Average annual leave

Proportion of happy employees

Singapore

45

7

27%

Mainland China

42

5

31%

Hong Kong

41

7

28%

Malaysia

42

8

36%

Thailand

40

6

51%

Vietnam

41

12

45%

South Korea

38

15

21%

India

41

15

50%

Indonesia

39

12

51%

Australia

33

28

49%


According to the result, Hong Kong’s employees are among the third most overworked in the region for spending 41 hours on average at work every week, on par with their peers in Vietnam and India, but with fewer days of annual leave (only seven days).

On the other hand, Singapore, also known for its long working hours, ranked first overall with some of the highest overall scores, in employees working an average of 45 hours each week, and around seven in 10 (73%) citing they are unhappy.

“Being overworked compromises work-life balance and can be demotivating, but it’s also dangerous,” said the study in light of last year’s research from the World Health Organization and the International Labour Organization, revealing that longer working hours have increased mortality rates in the APAC region by 29%.

“A reoccurring trend in our data showed that the higher the weekly working hours, the lower the percentage of happy workers. With the added pressure of low annual leave entitlement – overworking can quickly become unhealthy,” added the report.

To combat the culture of overworking, the study suggested several ways for companies to help employees stop the overworking culture:

  • Educate managers on how to spot burnout and overworking;
  • Create a culture of unplugging after work and on weekends;
  • Encourage open conversations about work-life balance;
  • Offer more flexible and agile working options.

Image / 123RF

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