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Are employees happier with flexible work arrangements?

Are employees happier with flexible work arrangements?


Employees who have an option to “choose working hours” and "work from home" were happier than those whose companies did not have any flexible work arrangements.

As society returns to normalcy, Hong Kong’s overall economic prospects and job market are expected to further improve. This sees local employees become slightly happier, but still stressed, according to the latest survey by CTgoodjobs.

The survey showed the average work happiness index of Hong Kong employees rose slightly to 4.97 points, higher than last year's 4.5 points. However, the average work stress index was still as high as 6.88 points, showing no significant improvement from last year's 6.9 points.

The number of working hours is closely related to how happy employees are, according to the survey – the longer the working hours, the lower the happiness index:

  • Respondents who work more than 60 hours per week (7%) had only 3.67 points.
  • Respondents who work less than 40 hours a week (12%) had 5.45 points.

In addition, more than half (56%) of surveyed employees in Hong Kong said that they still need to respond to work messages or emails after work. This group of respondents scored 4.67 points on the work happiness index. Those who do not need to respond tomessages or emails after work (44%) had a higher score of 5.34.

Since the pandemic has subsided, some companies have asked their employees to return to the office, while some still maintain flexible work arrangements. The survey showed that employees attach quite some importance to whether companies provide flexible work options. Employees who have an option to “choose working hours” (9%) and "work from home" (11%) were happier with 5.77 and 5.31 points on the work happiness index respectively.

On the contrary, those whose companies do not have any flexible work arrangements (76%) only got 4.83 points.

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Younger employees are the least happy

On the other hand, the work happiness index of employees across all ages has increased compared with last year, in which employees aged over 50 scored the highest at 5.37 points. Employees aged 23 to 30 got the lowest score with only 4.78 points.

Segmented by salaries, employees with a monthly salary of more than HK$50,000 got the highest work happiness score of 5.74. The lowest score was recorded from employees who earn less than HK$10,000 a month, with the work happiness index at only 4.47 points.

The three happiest industries are:

  1. Health/beauty/fitness (5.64 points)
  2. Manufacturing (5.51 points)
  3. Human resource management/consulting (5.41 points)

The three unhappiest industries are:

  1. Laboratory tests (3.25 points)
  2. Freight forwarding/logistics/courier/transportation (4.30 points)
  3. Design (4.45 points)

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Nearly half of the employees suffered from insomnia due to work pressure

With the average work stress index of Hong Kong employees as high as 6.88 points, similar to last year's 6.9 points, the majority (91%) of employees have experienced stress symptoms of varying degrees in the past three months, such as:

  • easily getting tired (61%),
  • insomnia (46%),
  • don't want to socialise, just want to be alone ( 45%), and
  • headache (44%).

In the face of emotional challenges, only 13% chose to seek medical advice – which was 2% higher compared with last year, indicating that Hong Kong employees have begun to pay more attention to mental health issues.

Travelling abroad may be one of the best ways to reduce stress. With the gradual relaxation of entry restrictions around the world, nearly half (49%) of surveyed Hong Kong employees said they have travel plans in the next three months. The most popular destinations are, unsurprisingly, Japan (62%), followed by Thailand (27%) and Mainland China (21%). 

The workplace culture elements that make employees the most satisfied:

  1. Company location and the surrounding environment (including transportation, dinning, etc.)
  2. Working hours
  3. Overall environment of the company

The workplace culture elements that makes employees the most dissatisfied:

  1. Compensation and benefits policies of the company
  2. Company equipment (including computers, stationery, software, etc.) and recreational equipment/facilities (such as fitness rooms)
  3. Boss' attitude towards employees

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CTgoodjobs’ Hong Kong Employees’ Work Happiness Index Survey 2023 was conducted online in February 2023, surveying 1,587 Hong Kong employees across 24 industries.

Thank you for reading our story! If you have any feedback, feel free to let us know — take our 2023 Readers' Survey here. 

Lead image / Shutterstock

All infographics / CTgoodjobs

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