Korean Companies Navigate Shifts in Telecommuting and Communication | Be Korea-savvy

Korean Companies Navigate Shifts in Telecommuting and Communication

Workers head to their office in this file photo taken in southern Seoul on Jun. 7, 2023. (Yonhap)

Workers head to their office in this file photo taken in southern Seoul on Jun. 7, 2023. (Yonhap)

SEOUL, Aug. 22 (Korea Bizwire)While numerous global companies that adopted telecommuting over the last three years are gradually summoning employees back to a traditional office setting, South Korean enterprises are likewise scaling back their telecommuting initiatives, attributing the change to communication challenges.

This situation has triggered varied responses among employees.

Some assert that it deviates from the working conditions initially promised by the company upon hiring, while others view it as an inadvertent reduction in employee benefits.

On the contrary, certain individuals anticipate a resurgence in active communication compared to the online interactions of the past.

They foresee the return of the ability to decipher facial expressions, vocal intonations, and subtle nuances that tend to elude virtual meetings.

South Korean tech giant Kakao Corp. endorsed a remote work-from-anywhere policy in the past.

However, in March, the company introduced the “KakaoON work system,” which retains an office-centric framework but allows employees to work remotely from home on a departmental basis.

The country’s top mobile carrier SK Telecom Co. initially offered employees the liberty to choose remote work, but since February, it has limited such arrangements to one day a week.

(image: Korea Bizwire)

(image: Korea Bizwire)

Nonetheless, a significant number of employees in their 20s and 30s are registering their dissatisfaction with the perceived lack of communication and the abrupt shift in work paradigms.

In a notable instance, online job portal Incruit surveyed over 1,000 employees and job seekers who had experienced remote work in April.

Alarmingly, 7 out of 10 respondents indicated a willingness to explore new job opportunities should telecommuting be curtailed or eliminated.

In contrast to this trend, Naver Corp. and Woowa Brothers Corp. have opted to uphold programs that grant employees the flexibility to work remotely or select their preferred work environment.

Since July of last year, Naver has permitted a five-day remote work arrangement or a minimum of three office days per week.

A spokesperson for Naver remarked, “Developers are assigned quantifiable tasks, minimizing any adverse impact on their performance while working remotely.”

Similarly, Woowa Brothers introduced an independent workplace selection system earlier this year.

Industry experts predict the rise of the “hybrid work” model, a fusion of both telecommuting and in-person work.

In essence, while telecommuting is poised to gain further prominence, a hybrid work culture will likely endure, ensuring that face-to-face collaboration remains integral to the professional landscape.

Ashley Song (ashley@koreabizwire.com)

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