SEOUL, Feb. 25 (Korea Bizwire) — With confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus spiraling out of control in South Korea, companies and public organizations are taking measures to encourage telecommuting.
Korean branches of global IT companies such as Intel Corp. and Dell Inc. have made telecommuting virtually mandatory for all employees this week.
Microsoft Corp. has already delivered guidelines to encourage telecommuting from early February, although it is not mandatory for the company to do so, and meetings are also being held online instead of face-to-face.
“The U.S. headquarters believes the situation in Korea is more serious than expected, and most of all, the government has taken more aggressive measures to keep pace with government policies while upgrading the alert level of Covid-19 to a serious level,” said an official at an overseas IT company.
South Korea’s leading portal operator Naver Corp. has ordered employees to refrain from traveling as much as possible since early February, and pregnant employees have been telecommuting.
Kakao Corp., the operator of South Korea’s largest messaging app Kakao Talk, is also encouraging employees to refrain from overseas travel and has opted to hold videoconferences instead of meetings.
Kakao Kids, a Kakao affiliate, decided to provide taxi fares for all employees who are unable to work from home.
Furthermore, e-commerce companies have also been expanding their flexible work system by encouraging employees to work from home for their safety.
Starting today, Coupang Corp. decided to implement a flexible telecommuting policy in a way that does not disrupt each team’s work.
In order to ease customer anxiety, Coupang is also conducting ‘non-contact delivery’ for the time being for all orders. Instead of delivering the goods directly, delivery personnel either leave the items at the door or in a delivery box.
WeMakePrice Inc. also said it will implement a “work-at-home” policy as a measure to protect employees.
The company plans to make telecommuting available to as many employees as possible, while also minimizing commuting for those who cannot work from home and adjusting shifts to maximize employee safety.
Meanwhile, state-run companies in Daegu, the epicenter of the outbreak in South Korea, are struggling to contain the epidemic by switching to telecommuting or restricting outsiders’ access to the area.
The Korea Appraisal Board on Monday issued emergency service guidelines to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus, and ordered the rest of its staff, except for essential personnel, to work at home from Tuesday.
The Korea Gas Corporation also ordered employees living outside Daegu to work at home for about two weeks instead of returning to their headquarters.
A number of people working in areas near Daegu will also work from home for the time being.
While the Daegu-based Korea Credit Guarantee Fund does not enforce telecommuting, it has stepped up quarantine measures and advised employees to use vacation time.
The Cheongsong County Office in North Gyeongsang Province, located near Daegu, had employees commuting to and from other places work at home.
As a result, 160 out of 500 employees who commute from Andong to work started to work at home.
D. M. Park (email@example.com)