Hong Kong workers struggle to achieve a work-life balance, said recruitment and HR service firm Randstad that recently released its Randstad Workmonitor Report for Q1 2012.

The Randstad Workmonitor allows employers to see the latest trends and pressure points in the employment market, according to the company in a statement.

A survey of 405 employees in Hong Kong found that nearly seven out of ten respondents said they handle work-related matters in their private time, while 60% receive work-related emails on holidays, according to Randstad.

The recruitment firm added that while 68% of employees handle private matters during working hours, a significant 85% say they receive calls or emails outside regular office hours.

"In Hong Kong's fast-paced environment, employees are expected to work during their private time. This practice puts a severe strain on effective work-life balance and can impact negatively on productivity in the workplace," said Brien Keegan, Director, Randstad Hong Kong.

As a further encroachment on work-life balance, 35% of employees feel their employer expects them to be available 24/7, said Keegan, adding that the sheer amount of information available on multiple devices also has a big impact on the daily life of a Hong Kong employee, with 74% saying information overload and receiving more than they can process on a daily basis was an issue.

The use of Internet at home and a private smartphone or a device provided by their employer to check work-related email put further stress on employees to respond immediately regardless of their situation, he noted

"With increasing work and life complexity, business leaders need to be clear in their expectations of employees and what is required of each individual role," Keegan said. "With 40% of employees in Hong Kong reporting they have changed roles in the last six months, providing greater levels of flexibility and the workplace environment for employees to shape their careers around lifestyle priorities is helping many employers to stand-out in today's skills-short environment.

Employees must set boundaries

For employees, it is important to understand that the notion of balance is self-defined and is not a destination. They need to set boundaries to create their own sense of balance around what is personally and professionally important for them.