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Hong Kong sees biggest reluctance rate for office comebacks

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Employee hesitation to return to in-person work persists 

A recent report reveals a lack of consensus between employers and employees in Hong Kong regarding the return to physical workplaces. The study, conducted by Unispace, surveyed over 500 employees and over 100 decision-makers, indicating that 60% of employees in Hong Kong remain hesitant about returning to the office.

Currently, 63% of employees in Hong Kong are already present in the office for four or more days a week, according to Unispace’s findings. However, this number is anticipated to increase in the coming months, with 95% of respondents stating that they are expected to return to the office for at least four days, following mandates set by their employers. Nevertheless, 60% of respondents in Hong Kong expressed their reservations about returning, the highest percentage among Unispace’s global respondents, surpassing figures from the US (42%), the United Kingdom (58%), Canada (55%), and Singapore (54%). The employees cited the lack of privacy in the office (29%) and their increased effectiveness when working from home (26%) as reasons for their reluctance.

Employers, on the other hand, attributed the hesitancy to different factors. Around 21% of employers believed that staff members were unwilling to commute, while 20% indicated that employees didn’t want to transport their equipment between the office and home, as per the report.

Sean Moran, Senior Principal, Client Solutions, Asia at Unispace, highlighted the considerable disconnect between employers and employees, stating, “Our study indicates that the significant disconnect between employer and employee has contributed to the struggling working environment and culture in Hong Kong.” Additionally, the report shed light on the issue of burnout, revealing that 64% of employees experience burnout, with 45% attributing it to heavy workloads. However, only 29% of Hong Kong employers acknowledged burnout as an issue, suggesting a failure to recognize the signs of burnout within their workforces, according to Unispace.

Moran emphasized the importance of understanding employees’ concerns in a city known for its high work demands. “Hong Kong businesses need to understand the concerns and struggles of their staff, from work arrangements and office productivity to burnout,” he remarked.

In response to employees’ privacy concerns, employers in Hong Kong have begun taking measures. The survey indicated that 82% of employers expanded their office space in the last two years, and 74% have plans to do so by 2025.

Moran concluded by stating, “We see the need to build an encouraging workplace aligned with their employees’ needs and values as a platform to promote positive influence and culture. Fostering a better relationship with their employees, businesses can drive higher talent retention and attract high-quality talent, the steppingstone to the company’s success.”


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