HONG KONG, 13th August 2009 – The latter part of 2009 remains a period of intense anxiety in Hong Kong for employees and employers alike, according to new statistics from Robert Half. While employees fear their working lives will become more stressful, employers are increasingly concerned about the negative impact this pressure will have on their business.
The figures, released in the 2009 Robert Half Global Workplace Survey found that a staggering 48% of Hong Kong’s employees reported they expected their stress levels to increase in the coming months. Over 59% of respondents reported they were worried about the economy, while 57% were anxious about job security and felt these triggers would have a direct impact on their levels of stress.
Andrew Morris, Director, Robert Half Hong Kong commented: “In this economic uncertainty, many companies have been forced to layoff employees and freeze headcount. As a result, staff are forced to work even harder to prove their ability which is a having a negative impact on stress levels.”
The excessive workloads caused as a result of understaffing were also reported by 51% of respondents. These demands were not limited to office hours, with one-quarter (25%) and more than one-fifth (21%) of employees reporting they spend more than 60 to 89 minutes and 30 to 44 minutes respectively checking work emails through PDA, Blackberry or iPhone when they are not in the office.
Morris adds: “Despite these worrying times and the subsequent stress that can arise from this period of uncertainty, there are a number of small changes employers can introduce which can help effectively combat the pressure and tension currently experienced by employees. Our survey revealed that 37% of employers were actively discussing workloads with their staff, 32% are increasingly introducing team building exercises/out-of-office activities in order to help boost morale, 21% were offering additional holiday entitlement while 16% were providing access to counseling. In addition, monetary rewards for exceptional performance were being offered by 14% of companies in order to help manage employees’ stress levels.”
Interestingly, employees reported that having a manageable workload is the biggest priority with 23% of respondents reporting that this is the key to controlling stress levels and increasing and maintaining their morale.
The employees surveyed also reported they would prefer their employers to recompense a job well done through the use of special gifts (15%) rather than using monetary rewards (9%) to appreciate their work. Team building/out-of-office activities were welcomed by employees as an effective tactic by 11% of respondents as many felt these could help facilitate building healthy relationships with their employers.
The study polled 6,167 executives from 20 countries. Respondents ranged from middle managers to c-suite executives in a variety of roles including finance and accounting, human resources, information technology and sales.