Work carried out by Taiwanese companies out of family skepticism exacerbates COVID challenges | Coronavirus pandemic news

Taipei, Taiwan -Taiwan is praised globally for its rapid response to COVID-19, but due to the sudden outbreak of the disease, it has emerged from an unexpected corner with a huge disadvantage in the process of dealing with various challenges: its workplace culture .

When Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Control Center in Taipei and New Taipei City (where nearly a third of Taiwan’s population live) raised the alert to “Level 3,” they imposed new restrictions on the size of gatherings on weekends and demanded the public Must wear a mask. They also urged employers to allow people to work from home.

On weekends, residents flocked to the streets and the streets were empty. But by Monday, even though the outbreak was becoming the worst attack on the island since December 2019, everyone seemed to be working hard.

It seems that if employers want to encourage employees to work at home, they need more than just encouragement.

“The fundamental problem at present is that the government has taken a deregulated approach to the company and has not created an incentive to promote change. When Taiwan finally had to work from home, we are now facing this problem, which poses a challenge to the entire work structure.” In addition to other jobs, Roy Ngerng, a Singaporean, said that he writes about wage issues in Taiwan.

“How to tell people to take time off to take care of their children or stay at home or take their family to see a doctor [because of] Coronavirus disease? How can you not pay? ” He says.

Like most parts of East Asia, Taiwan’s workplaces also enjoy a deep reputation. Working long hours makes office working hours more important than other productivity indicators.

For “knowledge workers” (persons engaged in accounting, law, design, and programming), Harvard University researchers have shown that short-term work-from-home arrangements can actually increase productivity and job satisfaction because people can organize their own Schedule and save time by not attending meetings.

The government did not provide any financial support for people working from home, which is especially important because when the school ordered the closure of schools in Taipei and New Taipei City until May 28, parents were told that they could legally take parental leave, but they had to negotiate. Any salary with the employer.

Taiwan has largely contained the coronavirus, but the sudden outbreak in the northern part of the island is testing its resilience [Sam Yeh/AFP]

On social media, there are complaints that supervisors refuse to allow work from home because they do not believe that employees can work equally efficiently.

There are also posts about employers insisting that office workers enter the workplace in shifts instead of working remotely. Others were told that they could work from home, but they would not get paid.

In the early days of the pandemic, Engern recalled that in the early days of the pandemic, he worked in a university research center. Although most of the work could be easily done online, the management felt uncomfortable with employees working from home. He said that when they did work remotely, they had to register through video calls three times a day.

Manufacturing legacy

Christine Chen, head of employment and immigration law at Winkler Partners, a Taipei law firm, said that the way Taiwan works from home depends largely on the industry.

She said that many employees in the technology industry work from home for most of the year, but in economic data, government data shows that 97.5% of enterprises are classified as “small and medium-sized enterprises”. Not universal.

She said: “I think the industry is very different.” “Technically, if employees can still provide products or complete projects on time, they are accustomed to working from home or work. But for local companies, this has nothing to do with trust. Product-related…it has to do with whether this way of working can bring benefits to the company,” she said, adding that most small companies in Taiwan do not believe in their ability to take risks.

Mr. Chen’s company also works from home. She said she hopes to see the government step in to provide assistance or tax cuts in other industries such as the service industry or food and beverages to make up for the wages of those who cannot work.

Until Taiwan reaches level 4 (complete lockdown), it is only recommended that private companies allow employees to work from home, although local governments in Taipei and New Taipei City allow civil servants to work remotely or adopt more flexible working hours.

As The rest of Taiwan was placed below level 3 on Wednesday, The government has not announced any further economic incentives to encourage companies to allow remote work.

With the outbreak of the new epidemic, Taiwan has increased its level of vigilance, but only recommends that companies allow people to work from home. Many people resist this. [Sam Yeh/AFP]

American national Mark Stocker, who has lived in Taiwan for 30 years, said that unless the government announces a level four warning, he has no plans to close the office of the brand consulting company, where he serves as the managing director.

He said: “I hope everyone in the office can help communicate.” His company has about 20 employees. “As a manager of a company, you have to decide how to make rules and how to get everyone to agree to a set of rules, and my policy is because we are a foreign company operating in Taiwan, so I find it easier to follow government regulations.”

Stocker speculates that Taiwan’s work culture is a sequelae of its manufacturing roots, and pointed out that even office and university employees have to get in and out of the office, and sometimes feel ashamed of delays.

His first job on the island was in a company that made bicycle pedals, and he didn’t realize the difference in work culture until he was ten minutes late after his salary was suspended.

“I prefer everyone to work in the office instead of working at home. I think this is more important than Taiwan being a big manufacturing country and will continue to be a big manufacturing country,” he said. “The vast majority of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) is related to exports. This is tangible. To open a factory, you need people who work in the factory on time.”

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