South Korea’s three largest telecom companies, SK Telecom (SKT), KT, and LG Uplus, announced on Thursday that they are taking precautionary measures to minimize the number of call center staff who commute to their offices. Company officials stated that the viral infection could transmit easier in a packed working environment.
The decision came after around 100 workers at a Seoul-based call center, and their family members tested positive for COVID-19 as of Wednesday afternoon.
The three companies combined workforce totals over 20,000 employees at call centers nationwide. To better protect the health of their workers and prevent the further spread of the virus, the telecom companies decided to let employees work at home.
Korea Communications Commission (KCC), Korea’s telecom regulator, called on the firms on Wednesday to strengthen their preventive measures against the spread of the potentially deadly virus in their call centers.
KCC Chairman Han Sang-hyuk said that telecom companies should take extra precautionary measures to provide a safe environment. He added that telecom companies should establish or expand their work-at-home system for call center employees.
SKT, KT, LG Uplus
SK Telecom stated that it allowed 1,500 of its 6,000 call center employees to work from home. The company added that upon request, it would enable other call centers to work from the safety of their homes.
An SKT official said that currently, 300 workers operate from home, though, by next week, they expect 1,500 employees to do so. The company’s management ensured that workers could access their operations systems, making the working conditions at every employees’ house similar to those at their offices.
The company also provided workers who prefer to work in offices with masks and hygiene products.
KT, which employs over 10,000 workers across the country, allowed 300 “high-risk category” employees to work from home. A company official said that they would increase the number as they receive more applications.
To minimize group interactions, KT said that they are utilizing their offices and training centers to spread out the workforce better, relocating about 20 percent of employees.
LG Uplus aims to minimize the number of employees commuting by having them work at home. The company said it would start with employees specializing in online counseling.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Korea continued its increase at a slower pace, standing at 7,979 as of early morning today with a death toll of 67.
Meanwhile, hospitals released an accumulative 177 people from isolation, which increases the number of patients cleared from the virus to 510.