South Korean firms continue work-from-home policies

As South Korea grapples with a second COVID-19 wave, many companies are having to make remote working a priority.
By: | August 19, 2020

As South Korea continues to experience an increased wave of COVID-19 infections around the country, public health authorities have moved to raise the level of social distancing in Seoul and the neighbouring areas to Level 2 of a three-tier system.

While this will allow most daily routines to continue, indoor meeting of 50 people or more, and outdoor meetings of 100 people or more have been banned. “The current situation is so grave that we have to consider adopting tougher (infection preventive) measures,” added South Korea’s Health Minister Park Neung-hoo.

Businesses such as cyber cafes, night clubs and buffets have also been ordered to close temporarily, although most other business activities have thus far been allowed to continue.

This, however, has not stopped a number of South Korean tech companies from implementing myriad forms of remote working for their workforce.

Kakao Corp, operator of mobile messaging app Kakao Talk, have told employees they can start working from home (WFH) again. The company had returned to the workplace this month after first implementing remote working in late February.

SK Telecom and KT Corp, two of South Korea’s biggest telcos, have both enforced full or partial WFH arrangements until at least August 23, while both Internet portal operator Naver Corp and video game publisher Nexon have told their employees to show up at the office for only twice a week.

READ: South Korea unveils US$29 billion stimulus budget

In June, the South Korean government predicted a 0.1% growth for the economy in 2020, which will represent the worst growth since the Asian financial crisis in 1998.

In order to create 550,000 jobs across the country, the government has put in place a 10.1 trillion (US$8.19 billion) emergency job aid. To help businesses keep jobs, a portion of job benefits for furloughed workers will also be expanded.