I am working for an US MNC. My company VPN (using GlobalProtect) used to be pretty slow but now it is pretty fast, just did a Speedtest (Viewquest test server) when connected to the Hong Kong based VPN server, ping is 69ms, download is 165.84Mbps and upload is 115.46Mbps.
Interestingly I have faster connection at home than at work with company wifi network. Occasionally it can be a problem with dropped Microsoft Teams meeting with the company wifi network but seldom I have dropped connection this year when working from home.
But yes the VPN connections can still cause problems if too many people are using it. Then it is better to drop the VPN connection as there is no need to use it when just using Microsoft Outlook and Teams.
Yeah we have the same, no local VPN server and most of the internal resources we need to connect to are located in the US anyway.
Many companies, including ours, implement limited split tunnelling where specific destinations are whitelisted so they don't go via the VPN. The MS address space used for Teams and O365 is whitelisted for us, among some other things.
You might get better speeds from an HK based server, since your VPN terminates there. A lot of companies have also upgraded capacity recently to handle more VPN users.
Another thing to consider is casual browsing and downloading. A lot of people would use their office computer for random browsing throughout the day, whereas most people have a second machine at home that they will use for anything not work related.