Despite the potential health and safety implications, 71% of respondents in Hong Kong SAR said that their employers wanted them to work from the office.
Randstad - the world’s leading human resources solutions agency - today released the results of their H1 2021 Workmonitor survey in Hong Kong SAR. The bi-annual survey highlights the workforce’s latest sentiments and perceptions of the local job market.
85% of respondents would return to the workplace after the pandemic
Once it is possible, 85% of those surveyed said they would head back to their workplace. This sentiment is also more apparent in respondents aged between 55 and 67, with 92% of them saying that they would like to return to the office.
The respondents’ inclination to return to the workplace could be attributed to their fear of job loss during a period when the job market is sluggish. 12% of Hongkongers are extremely afraid about their job security. 9% of survey respondents in mainland China echoed the same.
It is a catch-22 situation for Hongkongers. Although they do not feel safe in the office when herd immunity is not met yet, there exists a sticky issue of presenteeism. Afraid of losing their jobs amid the pandemic, employees may feel that physically working in the office could more explicitly show their hard work and dedication to the company. However, such unhealthy work habits could lead to serious health and safety issues as well as impact overall workplace productivity.
Companies should communicate their business updates and policies more regularly to their workers to make them feel more engaged and assured about their job security. Employers should also learn to trust their employees to take accountability for their own work, be it remote working or at the office. Workers should build trust with their employers as well. Employees can learn how to take initiative to speak with their managers about the challenges they face or the new learning opportunities they want to explore at work.
half of the respondents do not feel safe in their workplace until others around them are vaccinated
1 in 2 local respondents said they would feel unsafe in their workplace until others around them are inoculated against COVID-19. This view is more pronounced among men. 55% of male respondents have echoed this statement as opposed to 46% of female respondents.
Furthermore, 48% of respondents said they wanted to continue working from home until the COVID-19 vaccine has been widely distributed to the population.
In our #newways of working, employers need to learn to acknowledge their employees’ safety concerns and take into account operational and health risks when planning for their safe return to the workplace. For a start, managers can help raise awareness of the company’s safety measures and incentivise their workers to take the vaccine.
Employers could also revise their employees’ insurance plans to include COVID-19 and vaccine care. Companies that operate in a high-risk environment such as retail, hospitality or commercial aviation should also arrange frequent swab tests for their employees so that everyone can feel safer at work.
gain deeper insights into the workforce
The Randstad 1H Workmonitor survey was conducted in March 2021 across 34 markets around the world with a minimum of 400 respondents in each market.
In the new era of remote or hybrid work, HR leaders need to play a more active role in helping their employees find work-life harmony. This means being present to offer support programmes that are designed to ensure the workforce’s physical and mental health.