If you skimmed through my blog before (which I know not many people did), you might remember I mentioned that work conditions in Hong Kong are very different to other countries. You know, super small annual leave and people working unpaid overtime, etc.
Now, since the Hong Kong protests started and then the coronavirus outbreak happened, companies in Hong Kong were faced with a challenge. You need to know that apart from small companies, startups and some innovative foreign companies, most workplaces in Hong Kong have rather traditional approach to work. You need to clock in 9am-6pm every day, you might not be getting a computer to work out of office, you won’t have access to your systems at home either. But then protests make employees unable to come to work, not on time at least. People were found waiting for buses and trains for hours, stuck in traffic for hours and going home everyday would be a pain. Then the virus makes people scared of even going out.
Instead of having employees stay at home and not work, you might as well have them work from there and have your company performance less affected, right? Since June 2019 many companies became more flexible, making it possible for employees to work from home, which changed the whole working nature in Hong Kong (warning: if my subjective opinion is not right, let me know).
Last month a group of Hang Seng bank interns went hiking during working (home office) hours and posted about it on their social media pages. Of course got terminated, because hey, home office doesn’t mean day off, right? This event might be actually good for the companies too. They will work more on making a system or some type of mechanism that would work when employees are in home office so that the company doesn’t pay for hikers too.
School classes and lectures got suspended to avoid crowding and infecting kids and teachers were faced with new reality as well. They work from home preparing video lectures and school assignments posted on online boards and drives for students to complete.
All those events in 2019/2020 had a great contribution to changing the nature of Hong Kong. After the virus threat is over and even if the protests come back in full force, Hong Kong gained an amazing flexibility to move from offices to homes to protect their people.
It’s cliche but what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger and it’s really true especially for Hong Kong people now. Keep it up, Hong Kong!