62% of Hong Kong’s Mobile Workforce Step into Cafés for Hot Coffee and Not for Hot-Desking

February 26, 201611:49 am286 views

62% of Hong Kong workers on-the-go treat cafés simply a quick stopover and don’t feel comfortable doing longer work tasks in a public environment. Research carried out by flexible workspace provider Regus shows that on-the-go workers don’t mind checking emails in a café, but they can only work in this environment for a maximum of 20 minutes.

The research, which interviewed more than 44,000 business professionals from 100 countries, including 349 respondents in Hong Kong finds nearly half of global respondents reported that cafés (49%) and public transport are fine for checking emails only, with 41% saying they prefer not to respond to messages during their commute. Two fifths of respondents (39%) are happy to tap out a short reply over a coffee before finding a more suitable working environment for more considered responses.

Figures for Hong Kong are even much higher thanks to the advantage of being one of the world highest mobile penetrated cities (227.2%) [1], and 62% agreed that they just check emails in a café, and more than half of them (52%) scan emails when commuting. Some 51% of Hong Kong people send short responses in email when having coffee in café.

The survey reveals that busy cafés and the bustling trains also don’t provide the right environment for checking and approving documents or making important conference calls. One fourth of Hong Kong respondents comfortably make business phone calls in café, but are not comfortably carrying out conference calls (4%) and sensitive calls (4%).

Privacy is also an issue, with workers avoiding sensitive calls and emails while on-the-go. Away from the office, non-professional environments are also simply not suitable for work tasks that require time and sensitivity.

Types of activities and where workers comfortably carry them out:

Main Office Café Business Lounge Public Transport Hotel Car
G’bl Ave HK G’bl Ave HK G’bl Ave HK G’bl Ave HK G’bl Ave HK G’bl Ave HK
a.    Sending short queries or responding briefly to emails

(max. 20 mins)

70% 65% 39% 51% 46% 55% 20% 28% 36% 43% 18% 25%
b.    Checking emails, but not responding 46% 42% 49% 62% 41% 45% 41% 52% 37% 38% 38% 40%
c.    Sending longer/more sensitive emails 91% 87% 10% 14% 29% 37% 3% 5% 27% 34% 5% 8%
d.    Making phone calls 83% 77% 14% 25% 32% 43% 7% 16% 34% 43% 39% 28%
e.    Making sensitive phone calls 83% 86% 5% 4% 13% 14% 2% 1% 23% 32% 28% 14%
f.     Approving documents or checking other people’s work 91% 87% 12% 13% 28% 31% 5% 4% 24% 32% 6% 8%
g.    Carrying out core work duties(roughly equivalent to at least half a day’s work) 91% 86% 7% 10% 23% 28% 2% 3% 19% 29% 4% 4%
h.    Making conference calls 88% 90% 3% 4% 20% 19% 1% 3% 23% 34% 12% 9%
i.      Making video-calls 88% 90% 2% 1% 15% 13% 1% 1% 17% 24% 3% 5%

(Source: Regus 2015)

Other key findings from the survey:

  • The car is considered an acceptable location to make phone calls (39%) but not for conference calls (12%), perhaps due to the risk of losing reception. Workers in Hong Kongalso have the same working pattern, but the ratios are much lower, with 28% of respondents making phone calls in the car and 9% making conference calls.
  • On the other hand, nearly two fifths of Hong Kong business professionals (37%) are happy to send sensitive emails in business lounges, 28% of them carry out even their core work tasks for up to half a day as these environments provide the necessary privacy and quiet. Both figures are higher than those globally, respectively 29% and 23%.


“With Wi-Fi available nearly everywhere, it is certainly convenient to stop at a café and quickly skim through emails on a smartphone. However, the calm environment provided by a business lounge enables greater productivity. Instead of short bursts of activity while on the go, workers can carry out lengthier jobs without interruptions,” said Natina Wong, Country Manager of Regus Hong Kong.

“A business lounge is ideal for phone calls or conference calls, as users don’t have to worry about losing reception or being disturbed by fellow commuters. A bad line or background noise can affect the professional image of a business so this is an important consideration when calls involve a client or prospect,” Wong added.

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