South Korean businesses that took actions to reduce domestic and overseas business trips due to COVID-19 are now gradually resuming normal activities according to the government’s easing of social distancing guidelines.
According to the business circles on Monday, Samsung Electronics made an internal announcement on eased disease control guidelines, such as partially resuming in-person meetings, group training, and business trips, which had been suspended. Domestic and overseas business trips are allowed again and events can be held for up to 299 people. Work lunches and dinners can be hosted for up to 10 people with permission of a manager in charge and the operation of shuttle buses and helicopters for work are resumed. However, masks should be mandatorily worn, given the possibility of COVID-19 variants and a resurgence in infection cases. The existing guidelines to allow working from home for up to 50 percent of work hours remain.
Hyundai Heavy Industries Group also made an announcement to flexibly lower the share of working from home from the current 50 percent for those who work in the office of its headquarters in Ulsan, depending on each team’s situation. However, meetings and training will be restricted to up to 30 and 50 people, respectively, for now until infections by the Omicron variant slow down. “According to changes in the government’s social distancing guidelines to go back to normal daily lives, the share of working from home will be reduced, starting with non-metropolitan areas,” said a member of Hyundai Heavy Industries.
Other companies are also implementing similar policies. Naver also partially eased office attendance guidelines on Monday. Previously, its employees needed an organizational head’s approval to work in the office. The remote working system will be maintained until the end of June but employees can now decide based on their preference without such approval.
There are some companies that have already applied eased guidelines from the beginning of this month.
Celltrion increased the number of people allowed for in-person meetings between teams from six to 10 at the beginning of this month. Rest areas in its office are also open with some social distancing in place. Four or fewer people can eat together in restaurants and domestic and overseas personal trips and business trips are allowed. The rotational remote work system for 30 percent of employees will be maintained. POSCO suspended its remote work system, which had been implemented in Seoul, from April 1 while Hyundai Motor Company and Kia partially allowed domestic and overseas business trips, training and meetings.
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