President’s Memo

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From senior executives on relentless business travel schedules, to budding entrepreneurs living in teeny tiny apartments, Hong Kong work days are generally long, gruelling and stimulating all at the same time. Our society is also laced with mobile technology which can boost and/or hinder stress, and make it possible to work 24/7.

At the chamber we spend much of our time focused on networking, advocacy and thought leadership across a variety of sectors.  But I also routinely witness people huddled in quiet discussion over the challenges of work/life balance and whether technology actually helps or hinders their fatigue.

One executive recently told me how he would spend more time in the U.S. than usual this summer, but set up a remote desk at home so he could try and conquer the demands of home life and work. Another person told me he doesn’t have time to take a break this summer. If he’s gone more than a week, he could miss important opportunities in a fast moving and competitive market. Others, quite rightly, plan to switch off all devices for at least a week by taking a digital diet at the beach.

Many people hail New York as the city that never sleeps, but Hong Kong may well lay claim to that award – AIA research shows Hong Kongers are the most sleep-deprived in Asia, a continent of sleep deprivation. Mobile penetration is still the highest in the world, with almost two and a half mobile subscriptions per person. It seems most Hong Kong taxi drivers now have at least three mobiles on their dashboard. Does it really make them better drivers?

This issue of AmCham HK is devoted to work life balance in the hope that the chamber can build on the conversation of how to work smarter and live better rather than work harder and feel exhausted.

I’d be keen to keep this conversation going throughout the year, not just during the summer break and look forward to hearing your thoughts whether by social media, email or text (my mobile phone is generally always switched on – so I’m easy to track down.)