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Hong Kong: Embrace Flexible Work Arrangements or Get Left Behind in the Talent War?

Hong Kong employers are in a pickle. Employees want flexible working arrangements but Hong Kong itself isn’t embracing it across the board. This hesitation could cost them big time in the war for talent. In a global market where, skilled workers have their pick of opportunities, sticking to outdated work models could put Hong Kong businesses at a big disadvantage.


Hong Kong flexible work arrangements and hybrid working arrangements will be a new trend.



Employees Want Flexibility

The Disconnect: A recent study revealed that 70% of Hong Kong employees are required to work full-time in an office, despite 52% preferring a more hybrid work or remote work model (source: Randstad Hong Kong, 2024 Workmonitor Research).


Flexibility is King: Nearly half (46%) of respondents have already made lifestyle changes to accommodate potential continued remote work.


Quitting jobs due to the lack of flexibility: The study shows that 51% of the employees will consider leaving their jobs if they have to work with the full-time office setting.


Hong Kong workplaces need to adopt flexible working arrangements for the remote teams.



Beyond Location and Hours

The study highlights the need for a broader definition of workplace flexibility here. It's not just about where or when work gets done. It's about:


Autonomy: Empowering employees to tailor their own arrangement and work environment to their needs (as highlighted in the Labour Department's "Flexible Work Arrangements" brochure, December 2022).


Generational Differences: Millennials prioritize flexibility, but salary remains a factor. However, for Baby Boomers, they see the flexibility as something not negotiable.


Human resources department needs to be aware of the latest talent trends to shape the organizational culture.



Building a Well-Rounded Employer Brand

It's not just about flexibility. Here's what else matters to Hong Kong job seekers:


Psychological Safety: Feeling comfortable expressing themselves freely and avoiding discrimination is crucial for job candidates (60% would reject a job that negatively impacts work-life balance).


Equity and Social Responsibility: 46% won't accept a job that clashes with their values, and 45% expect proactive efforts towards diversity and inclusion from encourage employers.


Remote working can enhance employee experience and bring benefits for the companies who embrace the hybrid work model.



Some pointers from Singapore FWA rules for reference

While Hong Kong isn't mandating flexible work arrangements, Singapore's recent guidelines for remote workers offer valuable insights:


Formal Request Process: Employees can request four-day workweeks, more remote work, flexible working and staggered hours. Employers must give these requests due consideration.


Building a Structured Framework: Singapore's recent guidelines establish a formal process for requesting flexible working arrangements. This provides clarity for both employees and employers, fostering transparency and reducing confusion. Hong Kong could benefit from developing a similar framework outlining the types of FWAs available, the application process, and employer responsibilities when considering such requests.


Embracing Choice and Not Mandating: Singapore companies are required to consider the employee requests for four - day weeks, hybrid and remote work or flexible hours instead of one system mandate. This allows employees to have a say in how they work, empowering a sense of control and ownership. But it also gives companies the chance to assess each request individually, ensuring it remains feasible for the team and business goals.


Organizations should succeed in collaboration with employee in order to implement the flexible working arrangements.



What can Hong Kong Employers Do?

Here are some key takeaways for Hong Kong businesses, aligning with the recommendations in the Labour Department's Flexible Work Arrangements brochure:


Implement Formal FWA Policies: Offer workers a structured approach to requesting and managing flexible work arrangements, as outlined in the Labour Department's resources.


Open Communication: Talk to your employees to understand their needs and establish trust.


Focus on Outcomes: Evaluate performance based on results, not just physical presence in the office.


Invest in Resources: Consider training to help managers navigate remote work and build a supportive working environment.


Companies should consider many factors in creating flexi work arrangement to overcome the challenges.



What future holds for the flexible work in Hong Kong?

Today's workforce craves flexibility. Businesses must adapt and embrace it to retain top talent. Prioritize well-being, create a win-win environment, and watch your company thrive – the future of work is flexible, or it's not a future at all. Additionally, consider these points:


The Labour Department is already on board, encouraging "employee-oriented" measures like flexible working arrangements. The current workweek in Hong Kong isn't in four-day system now, however it is following the regional trend of exploring flexible work options.


Don't see FWAs as just a perk – they're a strategic investment in employee well-being and productivity. Leverage the Labour Department's resources and learn from regional trends to implement effective FWAs. By prioritizing a well-rounded approach to FWAs that considers employee well-being and productivity, you'll attract and retain top talent, propelling your company to the forefront. Don't get left behind – invest in flexibility and build a thriving work environment for everyone.


Not sure how to manage a proper and organized flexible work arrangement? Check out JustLogin's attendance software for efficient shift scheduling and accurate attendance tracking.

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