China’s Remote Working Experiment

The aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic has spurred Chinese industry into a hopeful recovery. However, the reclamation of the industrial giant has come at quite the cost, with the worldwide epidemic forcing China to reflect on countrywide methods of employment. It is in this regard that telecommunications has surged in recent months. Indeed, streets which were usually jam-packed with commuters and street vendors are now emptied of activity, with the largest experiment in home based employment being currently underway. This has led to a massive surge in apps facilitating remote work, such as WeChat Work, Alibaba’s DingTalk, and Zoom.

The Marriage of Industry and Remote Work

Generally, Chinese Businesses are seeking to continue their remote working policies. In fact, today, about 60% of companies in the country have closed their offices or have employed WFH strategies in order to adhere to social distancing. Remote work has remained the preferred choice for more than 50% of Chinese companies currently operational. Furthermore, Chinese companies have requested that around 300 million of their employees use work from home strategies.

However, the process has not been without its problems: With the majority of Chinese companies adopting a traditional top down approach to handling their employees, China still has a lower than average level of remote work compared to the West. Furthermore, during the onset of the epidemic, there was somewhat of a backlash; employers had highlighted the potential for distraction, while employees had criticized the seemingly longer working hours, and the lack of distinction between work and private life.

Jay Milliken, who is a senior partner and lead for the consultancy, Prophet, has pointed out that this is because of more conservative workplace norms, saying that “The organizational culture of Chinese companies overall still has a long way to go – with creative agencies and tech start-ups being exceptions,” and that Remote styles of work “go against their belief of how employees should be managed,”

However, that is not to say that the more practical (and safe) solution has not become more apparent during the past few months; professor of organizational behavior, Zhang Xiaomeng has explained that the companies that have already invested in tools and training that facilitate remote working strategies will be much more likely to continue to use these methods even after the pandemic has waned. She further pointed to the changing attitudes about work in China, explaining that ‘Autocratic’ styles of administration are becoming less common.

The sudden increase of remote work in China will essentially become the prominent remote working experiment that has been undertaken in recent history (a feat even for the Chinese themselves). Going hand in hand with this is the fact that the keyword “Remote Work” has increased seven-fold during the past three weeks. Baidu has stated that the number of users for its virtual cloud based hard drive (Which resembles the Google Drive in many respects) has increased dramatically.

China’s Post Covid Employment Strategy

Although it is too early to make a conclusion, doubts about remote work technology are drastically decreasing. However, It is important to note that for Chinese Industries, the option of converting to distance working strategies will completely alter the management chain process.

The main challenge will be switching from top-down management systems, as most Chinese Office Automation systems are designed for staff organization purposes and were not made to coordinate workflows. Because of this, investing in software such as DingTalk (owned by Alibaba) and WeChat Work will be crucial for the future.

Work Remotely With Logique Digital Indonesia

If you have web development skills and want to work remotely, consider joining Logique Digital Indonesia. Currently, we have job vacancies open for several positions, such as Front End Developer, Web Developer, Mobile App Developer, and many more. Please visit the Logique career page to find the positions that match your skills and experience.

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