The coronavirus outbreak has left many businesses to figure out how to continue operating as workers are forced to work from home.
“It’s a good opportunity for us to test working from home at scale,” said Alvin Foo, managing director of Shanghai ad agency Reprise Digital. “Obviously, not easy for a creative ad agency that brainstorms a lot in person.”
While many people in China are on vacation for the Lunar New Year, companies in the country gearing up to restart operations will be performing in the world’s largest work-from-home experiment. This includes utilizing tools such as video conferencing apps or communication platforms like WeChat.
However, due to how quickly the virus is spreading, many workers are extending their vacations more and more. Tiko Mamuchashvili, a senior event planner at the Hyatt hotel in Beijing, said she has to let her department know each morning about her whereabouts and whether she is running a temperature.
The virus may also pose a massive threat to coworking spaces, which have quickly multiplied across China in the past few years. David Tai, deputy director of coworking space and bakery Beeplus, was forced to delay the opening of its Beijing location. Tai also said it is practically impossible for those in the industry to work from home, which could lead business to suffer immensely.
“The core of work space is community, people coming together,” said Tai. “It’s difficult to replace that interaction and connection online.”