Workers across China have had mixed reactions to what has become the world’s largest work-from-home experiment due to the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak. Although some are suffering from distractions, others are embracing this new way of working and finding that it has improved their productivity.
Sun Meng, a curriculum planner and online education designer who works in Beijing, said that since she started working from home a month ago, she has seen workers be more efficient and is enjoying more time spent with her son. Meng and her colleagues use communication app DingTalk to “clock in” at work and keep in touch with one another.
Although China’s work culture is more restrictive in how much it typically offers flexible working, it clearly has the infrastructure to support this work style. Still, it is unclear if working from home will become a more adopted practice after the outbreak is no longer a threat, but demand for the option will likely grow.
“They have limited time spent with their families, taking care of kids or accompanying their parents. They also have difficulty coping with their personal well-being,” said Qun Li, an associate professor of enterprise culture at Beijing Jiaotong University. “Since working and commuting occupy almost their entire schedule, people often feel stressed out both mentally and physically. Now many have tried working from home and have found it’s a way of balancing work and life, I believe there will be more demand”