South Korean companies have adopted telecommuting and flexible work hours as preemptive measures to secure employee health and safety because of the worsening crisis of the new coronavirus. Although temporary, the implemented strategies led to drastic changes in the country’s workplace.
Several major companies are allowing their employees to work from the safety of their own homes or have flexible working hours to accommodate precautionary activities involving disinfection and prevention.
President Moon Jae-in has already placed the country on “red alert” after it reported its fifth death on February 23.
Meanwhile, the Korea Centers for Disease Control (KCDC) said that as of February 26, an accumulated total of 1,146 cases of COVID-19 infected patients had been confirmed in the country. The death toll rose to 11 people.
Remote Work System
LG also allowed pregnant employees to work remotely from home as needed. The company also introduced flexible working hours allowing employees to take care of their children. The measure would also minimize the use of public transportation during rush hours.
Samsung allowed pregnant employees to continue work from their homes, delivering information to affiliates through personnel teams. The company also ordered employees from its Gumi plant to telecommute.
Hyundai Motor restricted non-employees from entering its headquarters in Seoul. Even with employees, the country’s largest automobile manufacturer is strict in letting them enter. Guards use thermal imaging cameras to check for high body temperature of people before going in.
KT decided to create a rotating work schedule for its employees until March 6.
CJ Group ordered to stop its corporate training, in-house events, and gatherings until March 31. The company has also decided to minimize the use of public transportation for its employees, introducing flexible working hours
Meanwhile, SK Group allowed all of its employees to work at home for two weeks. All six subsidiaries of the group will telework, except for a handful of key personnel.
The six companies make up a large portion of the employment industry, with over 600,000 workers in South Korea.
Amorepacific and LS Group Affiliates started telecommuting after an employee at LS Yongsan Tower in Seoul confirmed to have been infected with COVID-19. Amorepacific’s tower is located next to the LS Yongsan Tower, prompting some 7,500 workers to work at home.
Kakao and Naver ordered all employees to switch to a remote work system from home starting Wednesday until further notice.
The Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) recommended around 180,000 member companies to use flexible hour systems and remote work systems to lessen the potential of the virus to spread further, especially during rush hours.