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Hong Kongers Hooked on Work

Hong Kongers are Asia Pacific’s most hardworking people, with 77 percent glued to work outside of office hours, compared with a regional average of 66 percent, according to recruitment firm Robert Half.

Coming in second are Singaporeans at 69 percent.

SAN FRANCISCO - APRIL 18: BlackBerry user Douglas Philips checks emails on his BlackBerry April 18, 2007 in San Francisco, California. Millions of BlackBerry users across the United States experienced a disruption in email service as Canada based Research in Motion dealt with technical difficulties with its email servers. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
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SAN FRANCISCO - APRIL 18: BlackBerry user Douglas Philips checks emails on his BlackBerry April 18, 2007 in San Francisco, California. Millions of BlackBerry users across the United States experienced a disruption in email service as Canada based Research in Motion dealt with technical difficulties with its email servers. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The top reason cited by employees pulling in extra time — according to over 1,600 human resource and finance professionals surveyed across Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand — was the need by to be available in case of an emergency at work.

But Singaporeans’ dedication to work may not be paying off, literally.

The findings revealed that 39 percent of Singapore employers gave no overtime payment for additional hours worked, which is slightly higher than the regional average of 33 percent.

“In light of the tight labor market… organizations would do well to promote good work-life balance practices and provide competitive remuneration that commensurate with their employees’ contributions,” said Tim Hird, MD of Robert Half Singapore and Japan.

While some employers are putting pressure on their staff to log-on when they’re on holiday, technological advances have many employees choosing to clear work while they are away, to reduce their workload when they get back to the office.

“Mobile technology has created a culture where employees are always connected to work, and many find it difficult to strike a balance,” said Andrew Brushfield, Director at Robert Half.

However, the attachment to work may not necessarily stem from the staff’s desire to work. Robert Half found that 97 percent of Hong Kong employers expect staff to be contactable while on annual leave or when out of the office. Singapore comes in second at 96 percent.

On the other end of the spectrum is New Zealand, where only 6 percent of employers claim they expect employees to constantly be available.

Robert Half says employers need to carve out a balance, to ensure a more productive workforce.

“Employers need to make sure that their employees get a proper holiday so that they come back to work refreshed and don’t burn out. Employers can do this by arranging proper hand overs when staff go on holiday, and limiting calls and emails to the person on leave,” Brushfield advised.

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