It is a known fact that Hong Kong workers work the longest hours, which doesn’t only bring stress, but also puts their health at risk. A survey about the healthiest workplaces around the world revealed some alarming statistics about Hong Kong.
The 2018 “Healthiest Workplace by AIA Vitality” survey assessed the health and wellbeing of employees around Asia Pacific. It found that long working hours and unhealthy lifestyle habits have led to various physical and psychological health issues among employees in Hong Kong, thus lowering productivity a great deal.
Every year, an average of 78.5 days is lost due to health-related absenteeism and presenteeism per employee, much higher than the average of 69.9 days in the rest of Asia Pacific, and costing each organisation HK$3.04 million a year.
Meanwhile, 21.6% of the surveyed companies in Hong Kong do not provide any health and wellbeing activities for their employees. The proportion is the highest among the markets in Asia Pacific.
As with employees’ lifestyle health, 79.7% of Hong Kong respondents admitted they do not eat a healthy diet, followed by sleeping less than seven hours per night (44.7%) and having physical activity below the recommended 150 minutes per week (29.6%). Other unhealthy habits include smoking (7.6%) and alcohol consumption exceeding health guidelines (3.4%).
Undesirable habits have caused various physical health problems among Hong Kong workers. More than one fifth (21.4%) of the respondents are obese while the average is 13.6% in the Asia Pacific markets. While 83% experience shoulder pain, neck pain, and/or other musculoskeletal conditions, with 30% saying their condition has affected their normal work and daily living.
Work-related stress is affecting more than half (57.2%) of employees in Hong Kong, with more than one-tenth (12.1%) having shown moderate or severe symptoms of depression.
Elaine Lau, chief corporate solutions officer of AIA Hong Kong and Macau, advised that employers should take proactive measures to improve the health of employees, and provide them with appropriate medical protection, which will ultimately enhance their companies’ productivity.
The survey was conducted by AIA’s academic partners RAND Europe and academic institutions across the Asia Pacific regions, covering organisations and workforces from different industries. Forty one organisations and 2,187 employees in Hong Kong participated in the survey.