Workaholic Hong Kongers spending more time away from office

Other News Materials 9 April 2008 09:13 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa ) - Hong Kong's notoriously workaholic employees are at last spending more time at home after the government's imposition of a five-day work week, a survey found Wednesday.

The average time spent at work by Hong Kong people has fallen by five hours a week in the past four years from 55.2 to 49.6 hours, the study by the University of Hong Kong found.

People's happiness with their work has risen in response to the cut in working hours while the city's economy has continued to boom despite the shortening of office hours, researchers concluded.

The fall in working hours is due mainly to the introduction in 2006 of a five-day working week for the government's 200,000 civil servants, which banks and companies then also followed.

People working in financial services still put in long working hours, but the weekly average for the sector has fallen from 59.6 hours in 2004 to 54 hours this year, the survey found.

Hong Kong is notorious for its long working hours with employees often competing to see who can be first at their desks and many staff members refusing to leave until the boss has gone home.

Despite helping make Hong Kong one of the world's richest cities, the workaholic lifestyle of the wealthy former British colony has been blamed for social problems, such as disintegrating family life and high youth suicide rates.