Written by: Dr. Tik Chi-yuen, Director of Hong Kong Institute of Family Education 

Hong Kong is a highly competitive society that emphasizes efficiency, high added value, and high productivity. Therefore, Hong Kong people are known as “workaholics” or are forced to accept long working hours. In theory, our work hours have regulations, such as working from nine to five or nine to six. Of course, there are professions with longer working hours, but there should always be an end to the workday. However, in recent years, many individuals continue to be busy with work even after leaving the office. Additionally, with the advanced electronic platforms and the internet today, it has become more convenient for people to work and communicate on these platforms even after work. As a result, without realizing it, we no longer have a stable off-duty time. When we return home, we still open our computers to continue checking and replying to emails, reading reports, and writing proposals, and so on.

Long working hours not only have an impact on our physical and mental health but also cause constant concern about work progress, leading to psychological stress. This stress seriously affects the emotions of family members, which is why Hong Kong people generally experience emotional stress. Bringing work home means not only bringing some tasks or assignments but also bringing work-related stress. These pressures unconsciously affect our own emotions and, consequently, the emotions of our family members. Naturally, children hope that their parents can spend time playing with them, but when parents are busy with work at home, they may find their children bothersome and transfer their emotions onto them.

Family is a place that promotes mutual support among family members, and we should have more profound emotional interactions, sharing care and love with each other. However, when we bring work home, everyone can feel your stress and emotions, and gradually, children may find it difficult to communicate with you, resulting in a serious impact on the parent-child relationship, which is not worthwhile.

When we come back home, it’s not about continuing to deal with work matters, but rather about building intimate relationships with family members. So, when you come home, engage in more intimate behaviors with your family, such as hugging, playing games, and telling stories. At the same time, express love and share thoughts. At home, it’s about talking about love and affection, rather than being busy replying to work emails. This not only helps to relax everyone’s mind and body but also allows us to enjoy the joy of family.

Work when you’re working, play when you’re playing. This is the simplest principle, so please everyone, keep work in the office and bring a joyful mood back home.