With the advent of technology, the demand for a flexible workplace will continue to increase. A recently published survey found that between 8% and 13% of all employment will be associated with flexible workplaces in most developed economies by 2030, including Hong Kong and China.
A flexible workplace or flexible working is defined as a way of working that suits the employee’s needs. It spans from working hours to location. Some approaches adopted by companies are starting or finishing a job at an unconventional hour; working from a kitchen table or using a shared work hub closer to home; or choosing flexible workspaces where desk space and offices are leased for a short period of time.
By 2030, Hong Kong’s gross value added, related to flexible working, is predicted to see an 88.6% annual increase at HK$459 billion.
China will see the greatest associated gain in economic output – as much as 193% in 2030 compared with 2017, despite the foreseen relatively small pool of flexible workforces in 2030. An overall economic boost of HK$10.9 trillion is expected.
In terms of productivity, more than nine out of 10 professionals in the world believe flexible workspaces have enhanced workforce productivity, according to recent research by Regus’ parent group IWG.
By 2030, Hong Kong could save five million hours per annum by cutting out the commute with flexible working, and China could preserve more than 1.37 billion hours per annum.
The study also found remote workers are almost twice as likely to say they love their job as those in the same industry working in a traditional workplace.
On an environmental level, Hong Kong, where the population is comparatively small and public transport is widely available, would only see a modest carbon emission savings comparatively – about 0.1 million tonnes each year by 2030 if growth in flexible working continues at current rates.
“Flexible working offers significant contributions to society, from giving people more of their personal time back, to boosting the economy via job creation and improved productivity,” said Nancy Yip, area director of IWG Hong Kong.
“These projections show flexible working is a strong economic force that businesses and people should embrace in the years to come.
“It is exciting to see an increasing number of businesses in Hong Kong offering greater flexibility to employees at the workplace. We believe flexible working is certainly a win-win solution for both employees and employers, and it is a cornerstone for the city to further enhance its productivity in a long run.”
The analysis was commissioned by Regus and conducted by economist Steve Lucas at Development Economics in July. Findings and economic models were collected from 16 key countries (Australia, Austria, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Singapore, Switzerland, UK and the US).
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