Back to work

How much would you pay to not have to be in that crowd?

Speaking of work, Chinese companies are discovering an unexpected benefit of telecommuting:

China’s biggest tech companies have ordered employees to work from home, looking to limit the spread of the new coronavirus as many staffers return from Lunar New Year holiday travel.

Chat giant Tencent Holdings told workers through an internal instant message that they should telecommute during the week of Feb. 3-7. Employees tentatively are scheduled to come back to their offices Feb. 10.

Chinese e-commerce leader Alibaba Group Holding took similar steps, as did search engine provider Baidu.

So are Japanese companies:

E-commerce giant Rakuten says its policy covers workers and their family members who were in the country on business or on holiday from January 16th. They have been told to telecommute for a two-week period.

Rakuten will also allow pregnant women to work from home, regardless if they have been in China, if their bosses give consent.

The company will postpone business trips to and from the country.

Japan’s largest securities firm, Nomura Holdings, is giving its group company employees the choice of telecommuting for two weeks.

And more:

Meanwhile, an internet business provider, GMO Internet Inc., was set to have about 4,000 of its employees in Japan work from home for around two weeks from Monday in the wake of the outbreak, the Nikkei business daily reported Sunday.

That would account for about 90 percent of its domestic workforce. The company will also have its workers in Shanghai, among others, return home, the report said. The company could not be immediately reached for comment.

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