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Working from home: COVID-19 may forever change S. Korea's rigid corporate culture Updated: 2020-03-19 17:00:35 KST

Kang Dasom is a Seoul-based communication specialist.
She usually works in an office, but due to the coronavirus outbreak, she's telecommuting for the time being.

"My schedule looks the same from home. Starts from nine and ends at six. Only difference is getting up later and eating dinner earlier."

Using KT Corporation's high-tech digital solutions, Kang communicates with her colleagues at KT, files paperwork and holds video meetings.

"We also can make presentation, take notes and share documents. This tool makes us feel like we are in the same room for a meeting."

A growing number of companies in South Korea like KT have adopted remote work systems to promote social distancing in light of the outbreak.

"But looking beyond the COVID-19 outbreak, working from home might just become a lasting change to Korea's corporate culture."

"Korean corporate world has notoriety or a reputation of having very hierarchic and centralized chain of command and communication system, meaning that that Korean members of Korean organization in corporations or public organizations tend to spend a lot of time reporting to their superiors."

A survey shows nearly 50 percent of people find remote work efficient, mostly due to the lack of commute time, unnecessary meetings and other menial tasks.
A third think remote work is inefficient, citing distractions and difficulties in reporting. Many of that group are senior level managers.
But as the younger generation graduates to senior level positions, Professor Kim says telework is unlikely to be a short-lived trend.
If anything, the abundance of new technology hitting the market is a clear indicator that it's here to stay.

"The different kinds of apps and businesses that allow a more productive time and a more enjoyable time at home while working. Definitely, we'll have to bet on that side for future investment."

The government plans to offer small and med-sized firms up to 16-thousand U.S. dollars to set up remote work equipment and software.
It also will invest some 2 million dollars into developing 5G virtual reality and hologram conferencing apps to further support work from home.
Oh Soo-young, Arirang News.
Reporter : osy@arirang.com
KOGL : Korea Open Government License
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