It’s no secret that the coronavirus (now officially called ‘COVID-19) outbreak in China has caused a lot of panic and disruption, but it’s also amazing to watch the resilience and adaptability of the Chinese work force in dealing with such a difficult situation.

With the extended Chinese New Year break over, most employees are now back to work. However, for many companies, rather than risk having their employees come into the office, they have instead allowed employees to work from home. More than half of workers in China’s capital, Beijing have reported that they will be working from home.

Working from home is a relatively new phenomenon that is now commonplace among many tech companies. Often these companies will allow their employees to work from home 1-2 days a week as a perk and an incentive.

Among the big companies in China experimenting with ‘work from home’ are DJI, Tencent and Alibaba.

From what we can guage, there has been a mixed response to this new ‘work from home’ movement. Many employees have reported overly stringent monitoring by managers and bosses, such as asking employees to send them a selfie every half hour, or reply to messages within a certin timeframe. However, others have enjoyed the experience and see it as a possible norm moving forward.

(Chinese teacher delivers class via live stream. Photo: Xinhua)

Work From Home Tools and Apps

In the West, some of the most common technologies for remote workers are Slack (a team messaging app) and Google docs. However, with China’s strict internet censorship, these apps are unable to be accessed.

Instead, companies are turning to local apps such as Alibaba’s DingTalk, which has rocketed to the number one most downloaded IOS app in China (jumping some 30 places on the list). DingTalk, much like Slack, allows users to create team chat groups, enter into video conferences and share documents and calendars.

Tencent apps such as WeChat Work (the corporate version of WeChat, that app that’s used by basically everyone in China) and it’s online conferencing tool, Tencent Meetings. These two apps are also among the top 5 most downloaded IOS apps.

is Working From Home the Future?

Although not all jobs are able to be done remotely, with the rapid evolution of technology and the increase in productivity that remote working provides, working from home may be the new norm in China moving forward.

Many parents have also embraced this new movement, saying it makes there lives a lot easier, no longer having to juggle work and childcare.

New technologies, such as those cited above, are also adding to the attractiveness of working remotely. Being able to dial into video conferences and share documents effortlessly makes working from home a seemless transition. It’s now up to companies to adapt by trusting their employees to perform without stringent monitoring.

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