Musk might be right about remote work, survey suggests
Korea seems to agree with Elon Musk, with big companies in the country having second thoughts about remote work.
Of the 100 largest Korean companies, 88.4 percent instituted work-at-home programs in 2020, 91.5 percent in 2021 and 72.7 percent this year.
According to a survey announced Wednesday by the Korea Enterprises Federation (KEF), 72.7 percent of the largest 100 companies by sales are having at least some employees working remotely. This is a decrease of 18.8 percentage points from last year.
The survery indicates that the perceived productivity of working from home decreased gradually. Of the respondents, 30.6 percent said the perceived work productivity of at-home workers was 80 to 90 percent of in-office workers, and 29 percent said work productivity at home was 90 percent or higher.
Of those surveyed, 21 percent said at-home productivity was 70 to 79 percent of in-office work, and 19.4 percent said it was below 70 percent.
Last year, 40.9 percent said at-home workers were more than 90 percent productive, 39.4 percent said they were 80 to 90 percent productive and 19.7 percent said they were less than 80 percent productive.
Of companies maintaining working-at-home programs, 43.8 percent said it was to ease people back into the office routine, 20.8 percent said it was the preference of some employees and 16.7 percent said it was related to government policy.
In terms of work-at-home regimens, 33.3 percent said they chose people to work remotely or in the office based on need and necessity, 27.1 percent did it on a shift basis and 25 percent left it up to the departments.
"Last year, companies used a lot of methods to determine the rate of working from home, but after social distancing measures were lifted this year, more companies are giving individual departments or employees the option to choose," said a spokesperson from KEF.
Meanwhile, 48.5 percent of respondents said they would make use of and extend work-from-home programs after the Covid-19 situation is resolved. Of the companies, 51.5 percent are expected to return to pre-Covid-19 in-office staffing levels. Regarding changes in office space, 22.7 percent want a base office and 18.2 percent said they prefer the use of shared spaces.
"There are likely to be many companies that will not fully return to the traditional work system, where employees go to work at a fixed time and at a fixed place due to changes in working methods and employee preferences for working from home," said Ha Sang-woo, head of the Economic Investigation Division at the KEF. "In line with this trend, changes in the Labor Standards Act are necessary to accommodate flexible working hours and a performance-based wage system."
BY KIM KYUNG-JIN [email@example.com]