Thursday, January 13, 2005

Hong Kong working style

If you call somebody's office in Hong Kong at 8:30 pm, it is possible that the guy you want will answer your phone and talk in the same way as in the day. Yeah, that's Hong Kong. The offices are still busy even in the night. May partly because the city is not short of electricity.

I am talking with a local Hong Kong reporter today about the competition between Hong Kong and Shanghai. He said it is impossbile for SH to get up with HK in ten years or longer. I totally agree. One of the reasons is because the working hours.

Not just in Shanghai, but also in all the cities in the mainland, the problem existes. The Economist magazine once wrote that Chinese people are used to taking a nap after the lunch, which is definitely true. People work from 8 am or 9 am to 12 am for the morning work, then they come back to office with full stomach after lunch. They feel sleepy and always take a nap on their desk. Then they wake up and chat for some time. Afternoon tea is always needed in the chatting. The brains feel released and not want to come to work immediately. After that, they work for two or three hour till 5 or 6pm. It is the time then they leave their office, and enjoy the wonderful night. (except for some crazy workers like the ones in the Big four)

A local friend here told me that she felt strange when her friends in Shanghai asked her for dinner at 6 pm when she visited Shanghai. She said it was impossbile here in Hong Kong, because people are still working hardly at 6pm. In my experience, my job hours in mainland were about 3 hours(9am to 12am in the morning) plus 3.5(2:30pm to 6 pm in the afternoon), totally 7 hours per day. But here I work for about 3 hours(10:00am to 1am) plus 6 hours (2am to 8am normally), totally 9 hours per day. But the feeling is almost the same. I don't feel much more tired though I work longer. The efficiency is even higher. It is strange, and may be unhealthy from the doctors' point of view. But I can do more things and my efficiency is higher.

If Shanghai wants to catch up with Hong Kong, change the working hours and push working efficiency It is not just the problem of the taxpayer's money.


Roy Berman said...

I thought the main reason they have that kind of working schedule in the mainland is because there isn't enough electricity, so the government makes companies work shorter hours,and not all at the same time.

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Amy or koala said...

Hmmm, in fact, I don't agree with you. Just look at the Disco and Bar in Shanghai, you will know it is not the problem of electricity.

English Media may say too much about the shortage of electricity.