How 2019/2020 changed work conditions in Hong Kong.

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!

2019 Year of Protests. 2020 Year of Coronavirus. 2021 will be…?


2 thoughts on “How 2019/2020 changed work conditions in Hong Kong.

  1. Glad to hear companies are more flexible now. But people being irresponsible and going out during work time (and posting about it, FFS, how stupid do you have to be?) don’t help the cause. I’ve been working from home for the past 4 years and I work the same, if not MORE, than when I was in the office. In the office there are colleagues to chat to, useless meetings that take time, rest areas where you go to get a glass of water and spend 30 minutes looking out of the window… etc, etc. At home I feel I have to prove that I’m working, so I make it a duty to reply to messages as fast as I can.

    Besides, being in the office doesn’t equal working… when I worked at offices I often saw people online shopping, playing games, watching movies… so I cannot understand the fixation with “having to keep employees in the office to watch them”. Slackers are slackers everywhere. And you don’t trust someone… don’t hire them!


    1. Totally agree with you! At the same time, I believe in that one case, bank staff have more limitations when it comes to working from home, many things can’t be done outside of office due to security measures, I guess.
      I think working from home can be very successful, but more traditional companies are just not prepared for this. I know people who had to borrow a computer from friends or family because they were told to work home but not given any resources…


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