Do you know how many hours per week your staff are working?
Hong Kong is renowned for having some of the longest working hours in the world. A census report by the government of Hong Kong found that 11% of professionals are working over 60 hours per week.
While work-life balance in Hong Kong remains a challenging issue in a competitive business hub, expectations are rising for better conditions with more concerns for the physical and mental health of workers.
Some of the more popular methods being employed by companies include:
- Flexible working hours
- Additional leave
- Company restrictions on out-of-office hours use of mobile devices
- Working from home/Telecommuting
- Restricted working hours
Improved work-life balance can enhance the overall health and well-being of your staff, thereby reducing both absenteeism and presenteeism (coming to work when ill). After all, who can work continuously under stress without eventually becoming burnt out?
Helping your staff to achieve a healthy work-life balance means continuously assessing their professional and personal needs within the context of your business objectives.
Here are a few suggestions on how you can create better work-life balance for your staff:
1. Allow for flexible work schedules
Promoting flexible work arrangements and other ways to help staff achieve a better balance can lead to many positive results for your company – and not just in terms of keeping productivity high.
For example, your company’s regular business hours may not work well for all staff. An employee who must pick up their young children from school could be allowed to start and end the workday a bit earlier.
Others might benefit more from a compressed work week: instead of five eight-hour days, designated employees might be able to work four ten-hour days, resulting in one less day in the office per week.
2. Provide opportunities for telecommuting
Offer staff whose jobs can be done remotely the option of working from home at least a few times a month (especially those with long commutes).
E-mail and other communication tools can ensure there remains a connection to their responsibilities, without the added stress of commuting on a daily basis.
3. Avoid the temptation to contact staff after hours
While technology can indeed keep us connected 24/7, resist the temptation to phone or email your employees outside of work hours – unless it’s truly urgent.
Respect that your staff need time every day to “unplug” from their job.
4. Give time off for a job well done
After the successful completion of a long or difficult project, allow employees to have a day off – or at least, a partial day – to relax.
Helping your employees enjoy a balance between their professional obligations and personal life is easier, and less costly, than you might think.
5. Consider bringing in reinforcements when necessary
One of the common causes of working overtime is due to lack of support staff to facilitate the demands of the business.
If you know when workloads are likely to peak in the year ahead (for example, around tax time), make plans to ease the burden on your staff by scheduling interim or contract worker to assist your full-time employees.
Work-life balance in Hong Kong
The importance of maintaining a work-life balance might be one of the biggest imperatives of the modern-day workplace, but it can also be a blind spot in the way professionals perceive their success. Ultimately, work-life balance should be seen for its long-term benefits.
Helping your staff gain work-life balance in Hong Kong can put your organisation on the right track to retain your top talent and achieve optimum team performance.