Will Coronavirus lead to an explosion of remote working?

With the ongoing spread of Coronavirus or COVID-19, remote working seems to be a strong way of curbing the spread of the disease, as companies in South Korea and China have already implemented this.

The disease has forced office workers in China to stay at home and work remotely. Daniel Zhang, chief executive of Alibaba, a Chinese multinational technology company explained how the Sars outbreak 17 years ago helped to boost E-commerce.

In South Korea, in order to protect employees, many businesses have started to adopt a system of remote working.  Intel and Microsoft in South Korea, have advised their staff to work from home and to actively use video and teleconferencing.

Patrick McKenzie, a software engineer and marketer who has remotely worked in Japan for 10 years said:

Remote working is getting towards a tipping point. For a while it was happening at a number of firms that were close to the experimental fringes of the tech community. We are increasingly seeing it at extremely savvy companies that have achieved a certain level of scale.

The CIPD said:

There’s a strong moral responsibility to ensure that employees feel safe and secure in their employment.

They believe companies should make it easy for employees to work flexibly and from home.

Despite businesses now being forced in to this situation, research has shown that offering this style of working can make a huge positive difference anyway.

Glide, an utilities and communication company, in its report “Remote working: a practical safety guide for businesses” stated that UK businesses need to ensure they are ready to accommodate the rise of remote working or be left behind.

Between 2008 to 2018, remote working increased by 74 per cent. With 68 per cent saying they would like to work flexibly but it is not “currently available”.

Remote working has been connected to increased wellbeing of employees as well as helping with recruitment and supporting businesses.

In February 2020, XpertHR offered some advice on how companies should support their staff during the spread of the virus.