You need only look down the MTR platform at the sea of 1,000-yard stares to know that this city has a work problem - let me rephrase that: a work addiction problem.

UBS' annual city-by-city survey shows Hongkongers work an average of 2,606 hours per year. That's almost 600 hours more than Tokyoites (2,055 hours a year); Parisians, on the other end of the scale, get 1,002 more hours per year with their loved ones than we do.

Let's concede that the legal and financial industries are some of the biggest employers in the city, and jobs in those sectors can require long hours. Geography is an issue, too. If you're in a global business, Hong Kong sticks you in the time zone that takes calls at 10pm.

Here's the thing. There are two characteristics of all addictive stimuli: that they increase the likelihood that a person will seek repeated exposure to them; and that they are intrinsically rewarding, or perceived as being desirable, says Dr Eric Nestler, a specialist in the biological nature of addiction.

Aren't both those properties inherent to the competitive Hong Kong workplace?

No doubt the comments section online will extol the values of hard work; in an op-ed published in this newspaper earlier this year the author argued, "Hong Kong can only find more hours by making more women enter the labour force, making them work longer hours and delaying retirement."

But next time you're on the late train home (head hung low, knots in your back), do the maths on those 2,606 hours a year for an average working life of 40-plus years, and compare that loss to the reduced life expectancy of an alcoholic.

Put down the Blackberry, Hong Kong, go home, hug your children.