Eight in 10 employees around the world said that they prefer agile working as it allows them to maintain a good work-life balance.

The sentiment is higher in Hong Kong SAR, with 91 per cent of employees wanting the freedom to decide for themselves where, when and how they want to do their work. Almost nine in 10 employees prefer the flexibility as they believe it can increase work productivity and improve job satisfaction.

hongkongers prefer working in the office but want flexible working options

Lowest across all four Asian markets, only 48 per cent of Hongkongers said that agile working causes pressure on their private lives as they do not know how to ‘disconnect’ from work. This is lower than the regional average of 55 per cent, indicating that Hongkongers are more likely to have better control over their work-life balance despite having easy access to work via digital devices. The research further suggests that Hongkongers want the freedom to work at another location or during a time that best suit their lifestyle & productivity as 85 per cent of them are still required to work at the office during stipulated business hours.

Natellie Sun, Managing Director at Randstad Hong Kong said, “Working in an office provides employees with a conducive environment where they can focus, collaborate and be productive. Despite these popular reasons to keep employees working in the office during business hours, companies need to acknowledge that there is a growing demand for agile working, which can bring about many benefits. Employees who have more autonomy are more likely to possess greater responsibility over the quality of their work and have reported increased creativity and productivity. These results tell us that local employees are keen for change and employers should consider evolving their policies to nurture a more productive and empowered workforce.”

Randstad’s Workmonitor is a quarterly research on the global employment trend. The 2018 quarter one research was conducted between January and February 2018. A minimum sample size of 400 interviews is required in each market.

hong kong SAR

When compared to the other Asian markets, Hongkongers are most likely to work at the office without having the option of agile working, with 85 per cent doing so. However, nine in 10 employees want to have the option to work outside of the office environment and during a time that better accommodates their lifestyle. Agile working is believed to promote autonomy as Hongkongers want to be given the responsibility to manage their work with greater flexibility. Higher levels of autonomy also lead to greater job satisfaction, productivity and creativity, as employees feel a great sense of personal responsibility over their work quality.

Only one in two respondents said that they feel pressured to be ‘always on’, the lowest in all four Asian markets. Mature employees are the least likely to feel pressured, with 59 per cent of them choosing not to work outside of business hours so that they can focus more on their personal lives. This indicates a strong appetite from the workforce to benefit from agile working options.


Three in four employees in Singapore have the flexibility to work from home and outside of stipulated business hours. The flexibility to work at an offsite location is popular among Singaporeans, as 87 per cent said that having the autonomy at work increases their productivity, creativity and job satisfaction.

However, 56 per cent of the employees felt that they are unable to disconnect from work. Women workers in Singapore are less likely to feel that agile working has interfered with their personal life as compared to men.


Across all the four Asian markets, employees in Malaysia are the most likely to feel that agile working will interfere with their personal lives as they never seem to be able to disconnect from work (63 per cent). Surprisingly, it is the millennials (68 per cent) who feel more pressured to be ‘always-on’ as compared to mature workers aged between 55 and 67 (39 per cent).

Mature workers are also more likely to prefer agile working as they believe that it can improve their overall job satisfaction, with all employees aged between 55 and 67 agreeing with this statement. The same demographic also said that flexible work arrangement plays a significant part in improving their work-life balance.

mainland china

Employees in mainland China welcome the option of flexible work arrangement, with 90 per cent of them believing that it can help them lead a healthier lifestyle. Furthermore, 92 per cent want to have more autonomy at work to attain job satisfaction.

Unlike other Asian markets, mature workers in mainland China are more likely to feel that agile working has interfered into their personal lives, with 67 per cent of the people believing so. In addition, 100 per cent of the same demographic said that everyone works at the office during opening hours. Millennials in mainland China are more likely to ask for flexible work arrangements as they believe that it will help them maintain a good work-life balance.

randstad workmonitor 2018 Q1 results

“I like agile working as it allows me to maintain a good work-life balance.” (%)

agile working preference statistics
agile working preference statistics

“Agile working causes a lot of pressure on my private life as I never seem to be ‘disconnected’ from work.” (%)

impact of flexible working hours on work-life balance
impact of flexible working hours on work-life balance

“I like agile working as it increases my productivity, creativity and job satisfaction (i have more autonomy in how I work)” (%)

impact of flexible working hours on employee performance
impact of flexible working hours on employee performance

“At my employer, we still work in a traditional manner; everyone works at the office during opening hours.” (%)

working in the office on opening hours
working in the office on opening hours

about the randstad workmonitor

The Randstad Workmonitor was launched in the Netherlands in 2003, then in Germany, and now covers 33 markets around the world. The last market to join was Portugal in 2014. The study encompasses Europe, Asia Pacific and the Americas. The Randstad Workmonitor is published four times a year, making both local and global trends in mobility visible over time.

The Workmonitor’s Mobility Index, which tracks employee confidence and captures the likelihood of an employee changing jobs within the next 6 months, provides a comprehensive understanding of sentiments and trends in the job market. Besides mobility, the survey addresses employee satisfaction and personal motivation as well as a rotating set of themed questions.

The study is conducted online among employees aged 18-65, working a minimum of 24 hours a week in a paid job (not self-employed). The minimum sample size is 400 interviews per market. The Survey Sampling International (SSI) panel is used for sampling purposes. The fourth survey of 2017 was conducted from October 24 – November 8, 2017.

about randstad

The Randstad Group is a global leader in the HR services industry and specialises in HR solutions in the field of flexible work and human resources. We support people and organisations in realising their true potential.Our services range from regular temporary staffing and permanent placements to in-house services, professionals, and HR solutions (including recruitment process outsourcing, managed services programmes and outplacement). Randstad has top-three positions in Argentina, Belgium & Luxembourg, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Greece, India, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States, and major positions in Australia and Japan.At year-end 2017, Randstad had 38,331 corporate employees and 4,858 branches and in-house locations in 39 markets around the world. In 2017, Randstad generated revenue of €23.3 billion. Randstad was founded in 1960 and is headquartered in Diemen, the Netherlands. Randstad N.V. is listed on the NYSE Euronext Amsterdam, where options for stocks in Randstad are also traded.

Hear what our leaders have to say about #HumanForward or head over to our new website and learn more about our Human Forward brand promise.