Wofoo Social Enterprises Limited’s “Hong Kong We Care” group released its research results of the “Hong Kong Workplace Happiness Index” on March 20 and found that Hong Kong’s workplace happiness index only scored 5.15 out of 10 points, which is lower than the personal happiness index.
The survey also found that 40 percent of the working people said they were overworked, and 30 percent even said that their work-life balance is severely impacted due to working long hours.
“Hong Kong We Care,” together with the School of Nursing of Tung Wah College and the Department of Psychology of the Education University of Hong Kong, distributed questionnaires on the Internet from Dec. 13 to Dec. 28 last year to study Hong Kong people’s workplace happiness index, work status indicators, work values, workplace culture, work efficiency, career health and personal happiness index and other data as means to find out the factors that affect workplace happiness and work efficiency. A total of 1,527 valid returns were received.
The survey found that Hong Kong’s workplace happiness index is 5.15 (out of 10) points, and the personal happiness index of the working population is 5.62, which is also lower than the 6.59 points recorded by the general population (both working and non-working people).
This indicates that compared with the general population, Hong Kong’s working population is significantly less happy in the personal happiness index and has lower scores in all various aspects of psychological capital (internal resources available to help manage tough situations).
The performance of various elements of psychological capital of working people is also significantly lower than that of the general population: caring (6.65), wisdom (6.53), perseverance (5.83), and action (5.74); whereas the scores of the general population are: caring (7.38), wisdom (7.20), perseverance (6.59), action (6.55).
“Hong Kong We Care” consultant and Associate Dean (Research) of the School of Nursing of Tung Wah College, Director and Professor of the Integrative Health Centre, Professor Simon Lam Ching, gives the following analysis: “Working people of any age group are not as happy as the general population, so age is not a determining factor that causes the difference in the happiness index.
It just indicates that the working population in Hong Kong, in general, is indeed more unhappy than the general public.”
When working people rated themselves on a scale of 0 to 10, 40.5 percent felt quite overworked (between 7-10).
The average working hours in Hong Kong is 43 hours a week, and the weekly working hours of overworked people range from 43 to 50 hours or more.
Some 31.5 percent of working people said that work caused a work-life imbalance.
The research center found that the workplace happiness index affecting most of working people is “salary adequacy (self-assessment).” The higher the salary adequacy (self-assessment) score, the greater the workplace happiness index score.
However, 40 percent of the respondents felt their remuneration was inappropriate after considering the workload and work performance.
Questions measuring the meaning of work revealed that 62 percent of Hong Kong people view work as “just a way to make money and nothing more.” It reflects that if work and money are separated, work does not have any real meaning for more than half of Hong Kong people.
It is work culture that respondents find most desirable to experience in the workplace including mutual respect (52.3 percent), fairness (47.9 percent), transparency (30.3 percent), and recognition (30 percent). Dr. Henry Ho Chun-yip, a Hong Kong We Care Research Committee member and an assistant professor of the Department of Psychology at The Education University of Hong Kong, emphasized: “A good work culture not only improves workplace happiness, but it also improves work efficiency. When employees feel more respected, supported, and cared for at work, the higher dedication to work and sense of belonging of the employees will be.”
Statistics also show that less than 20 percent of Hong Kong people feel energetic, dedicated, and focused at work a few times a week or every day. Twenty to 30 percent of Hong Kong people say they have no emotional commitment to the organization; for example, they do not have a strong sense of belonging.
There is also 19.5 percent of the working people who intend to leave their jobs within the next six months (from the questionnaire collection period).
Ricky Szeto Wing-fu, a Hong Kong We Care consultant, said that Hong Kong companies should not only focus on grabbing talent but also work on cultivating a good working culture to make employees feel happy and safe.
He suggested that the management can take the initiative to care about colleagues who work long hours and understands their difficulties and work-life balance to reduce the problem of work burnout.
At the same time, companies should undertake regular performance appraisals to review the fairness of remuneration.
The group also suggested that the government continue to promote the special holidays advocated by the Labour Department, including marriage leave, parental leave, filial leave, compassionate leave, special leave, and the like, and encourage companies to introduce more flexible working and family-friendly policies.