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Companies consider reinstating work from home amid spike in COVID-19

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A spike in local COVID-19 cases is driving companies in Taiwan to reintroduce policies for employees to work from home, the results of a survey released on Thursday by online job bank yes123 (yes123人力銀行) showed.

The poll showed that 63.3 percent of surveyed companies plan to reinstate remote working.

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Since the WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic more than two years ago, 58.1 percent of enterprises implemented work-from-home protocols, the survey showed.

About 50.3 percent of businesses said they believed that working from home was less productive than working in an office, 38.1 percent said it was similar and 11.6 percent said remote work was more effective.

Sixty-three percent of employees said they had experience working from home, with 41.6 percent saying that productivity while working from home was “almost the same as in the office,” while 36.2 percent thought it was “less efficient than in the office” and 22.2 percent believed it was “more efficient.”

Businesses said employers must overcome five challenges before allowing employees to work from home, including reporting and controlling work progress, maintaining customer service quality and business promotion, and avoiding blurring the line between employees’ home lives and work lives.

Employers also have to tackle a lack of opportunities for teamwork or brainstorming, and the need to improve communication while videoconferencing, the survey showed.

When asked about the advantages of working from home, 50.4 percent of employee respondents said that working from home helped save on commuting costs and transportation time, while 33.6 percent said it increased their sleep and leisure time, and 32 percent said it allowed for more flexible work schedules.

Regarding disadvantages, 40.2 percent of office workers said that working from home would result in distractions from family or pets, 37 percent said the line between work and life was blurred, and 35.4 percent said that meals and utility fees cost more.

The survey also found that 80.2 percent of employees experienced a reduction in their monthly income due to the effects of the pandemic and 60.3 percent said they had faced more stress over debt, yes123 spokesman Yang Tsung-pin (楊宗斌) said.

It also revealed that 66.8 percent of companies planned to raise employee pay, but with domestic COVID-19 cases continuing to reach new highs, 25.6 percent were considering reducing employee salary increases, with 32.2 percent considering canceling plans to raise wages, Yang said.

The survey was conducted from March 30 to Thursday last week among the job bank’s users with full-time employment and companies.

The poll collected 1,210 samples from 615 men and 595 women, and had a confidence level of 95 percent and a margin of error of 2.82 percentage points. It also collected 976 samples from enterprises, with a confidence level of 95 percent and a margin of error of 3.14 percentage points.

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