HK Employers Are Bullish About Hybrid Working

Image credit: iStockphoto/VidorHsu

Hong Kong businesses and workers are embracing the hybrid work evolution with proactive plans for change in workplace environments and lifestyles.

These are part of the findings from Microsoft’s first annual global Work Trend Index, which showed that despite prolonged disruption and uncertainty, Hong Kong employers and employees are meeting head-on the significant challenges from the shift to hybrid work.

An independent research firm, Edelman Data x Intelligence, conducted the Work Trend Index survey with 31,092 full-time employed or self-employed workers across 31 markets between January 12, 2021, to January 25, 2021.

According to the survey, flexible work is here to stay as 66% of workers want remote working options. Over half (53%) are planning ahead by indicating their likelihood to move to new locations away from urban centers to optimize their new way of life.

Business leaders are responding with positive change as 65% of business leaders plan to redesign office space for hybrid work. Almost two-thirds of business leaders say they are thriving as the hybrid work evolution provides an opportunity for change that will re-energize organizations in the new normal.

“Hong Kong businesses have displayed remarkable resilience in the face of sustained and significant disruption from Covid-19, but they have not stood still as the 2021 Work Trend Index highlights the proactive mindset of leaders and workers to embrace the hybrid work evolution as an opportunity for positive change,” said Cally Chan, general manager for Microsoft Hong Kong and Macau.

“Remote working extends far beyond video conferencing to collaboration and digitalization of other business operations. This includes contract signing, sharing company proprietary data and information, HR functions like expenses and leave applications, and many more. Hybrid working is the future, and cybersecurity is key to ensure a secure workplace for the new era.”

Other trends outlined in the report:

  • Leaders are out of touch with employees and need a wake-up call: Research shows that 62% of leaders in Hong Kong say they are thriving right now — 30% higher than those without decision-making power.
  • High productivity is masking an exhausted workforce: 46% of workers in Hong Kong feel overworked and exhausted. Trillions of productivity signals from Microsoft 365 quantify the precise digital exhaustion workers are feeling. The shift to virtual collaboration has increased our digital intensity, with the average number of meetings and chats steadily rising since last year.
  • Gen Z is at risk and will need to be re-energized: 56% of this generation in Hong Kong — those between the ages of 18 and 25 — say they are merely surviving or flat-out struggling. Younger generations offer fresh perspectives, and their contributions are critical. And as the first generation to enter the workforce in a completely remote environment on a widespread basis, their experience will set expectations and attitudes toward work moving forward.
  • Shrinking networks are endangering innovation: Aggregate trends across billions of Microsoft Teams meetings and Outlook emails show interactions with our broader networks diminished with the move to remote work. 46% of workers in Hong Kong experienced decreased interactions with coworkers with the move to remote work. Teams are more siloed in a digital work world, and while immediate teams and close networks grew tighter, interactions outside of those teams, or distant networks, have diminished.
  • Authenticity will spur productivity and wellbeing: Coworkers leaned on each other in new ways to get through the last year. Some workers in Hong Kong have cried with a colleague (12%), and others have met their colleagues’ pets (21%) or families virtually (23%). These increased interactions have led to 40% of workers in Hong Kong feeling like they can be their full authentic selves at work this year.
  • Talent is everywhere in a hybrid work world: More than half (53%) of those surveyed in Hong Kong are planning to move to a new location this year, indicating that people no longer have to leave their desks, houses, or community to expand their career opportunities. This fundamental shift expands economic opportunity for individuals and enables organizations to build high-performing, diverse teams from a near-limitless talent pool. The flip side is 49% of workers in Hong Kong and 62% of Gen Z in Hong Kong are likely to consider leaving their employers this year.

Image credit: iStockphoto/VidorHsu