The world’s biggest work-from-home experiment has been triggered by coronavirus


Question: What do you love and hate about working from home?

In offices across Asia, desks are empty and the phones are quiet, as the region grapples with a deadly virus.

In major hubs like Hong Kong and Singapore, shops are shuttered, public facilities are closed, and there are few people wandering the usually-bustling financial districts.

Instead, millions of people are holed up in their apartments, in what may be the world’s biggest work-from-home experiment.

The novel coronavirus outbreak, which began in Wuhan, China, in December, has now infected more than 67,000 people and killed over 1,500, the vast majority in mainland China.

Around 60 million people in China were put under full or partial lockdown in January as the government tried to contain the virus. Restrictions have been implemented in many other places too — but there is also pressure for companies to get back to work, with Chinese President Xi Jinping warning this week that the country needed to stabilize its economy.

In an attempt to limit social contact to slow the spread of the virus, known officially as Covid-19, millions of employees in China and other affected areas are currently working from home.
For some employees, like teachers who have conducted classes digitally for weeks, working from home can be a nightmare.
But in other sectors, this unexpected experiment has been so well received that employers are considering adopting it as a more permanent measure. For those who advocate more flexible working options, the past few weeks mark a possible step toward widespread — and long-awaited — reform.

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