A hard day at the beach

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 21 July, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 21 July, 2012, 12:00am


While tickets, passport and money will doubtless feature on the checklist as Hongkongers set off for the summer break, another priority sits high on the to-do list of many, with a large number of employees indicating they plan to spend up to three hours a day working on company business while they are on holiday.

As technology continues to reinvent the different channels of daily life, a Regus survey reveals over half of Hong Kong workers - 56 per cent - will try to fit in up to three hours' work each day instead of relaxing by the pool or spending time with their families and friends. This trend is amplified further among a hard-core 26 per cent of workaholics who plan to work more than three hours a day.

'Developments in technology mean that workers are always connected and the temptation to check e-mails, and complete any tasks that follow on from them, is easy to succumb to,' says Hans Leijten, Regus' vice-president for East Asia. He says that with smartphones, netbooks and internet connections everywhere, it has become increasingly difficult to switch off. 'Taking a break and devoting time to rest, family and friends is vital to staying healthy,' Leijten notes.

The Regus survey also reveals that instead of enjoying some free time with their family or friends, 54 per cent of Hongkongers say they will still be operating on a slightly reduced 'business as usual' mode from the sunbed by using their smartphones and netbooks.

Winton Au, associate professor at the Chinese University's Department of Psychology, says there is a distinction between workaholics and engaged workers that every company wants.

'For workaholics, work is stress; for engaged workers, work is fun,' says Au, adding he doesn't think working during holidays is something to get too worried about, providing you are not neglecting other people.

'It is a matter of time management,' he says. 'Sometimes, on holiday, we just want to spend an afternoon reading a good book on a beach on our own. How does it matter if instead of reading a good book you are having fun working on your e-mails?' asks Au.

As a management professional in a global leadership role based in Hong Kong, Martin Cerullo, Alexander Mann Solutions managing director for development in Asia-Pacific, says there is a certain group of employees who feel compelled to stay in touch with the office for various reasons. This includes those who feel it will be helpful for their career, to impress bosses or justify a job position.