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  • 작성자 사진Noh Hyun-jin

[Issue] Will the Working-from-Home Boom Continue?

No.158 / Jun 13, 2022

COVID-19 has accelerated the implementation of working from home. A few companies have adopted this system (even for the whole week) as a permanent working system, not a temporary system to prevent the spread of COVID-19. However, there are companies that limit or abolish working-from-home system. What makes those decisions?

LINE Plus introduced the “LINE Hybrid Work 1.0” system in July 2021. This system allows employees to choose a free combination of office work and remote work. Additionally, an autonomous seat system was introduced. Now, 40% of all executives and employees of LINE Plus are working from home for the whole week, and about 80% work from office only twice a week. Naver adopted working from home as a permanent work system in May 2022. It introduced the “Connected Week” system wherein employees can autonomously choose between “Type O (office-based work)” based on going to the office for more than 3 days a week and “Type R (remote-based work)” based on working from home the entire week. Naver supports public seats so that those who choose “Type R” can also work from office if necessary.

On the other hand, even Google, Microsoft, and Apple implemented a working-from-home system for the entire week to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in March 2020; they banned full-time remote work by introducing a hybrid (mixed) work system in the first half of 2022. Google and Apple required most employees to go to office 3 times a week. Furthermore, there are some companies that adopted the working-from-home system, but withdrew altogether. IBM, which once had more than 40% of its employees working from home, abolished working-from-home system in 2017. At that time, it was due to poor performance. Yahoo, which was in crisis due to the advent of several portal sites in the early 2010s, abolished working-from-home system in 2013. Yahoo Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Marissa Mayer said that people are more cooperative and innovative when they are face-to-face. Similarly, quite a few companies are cautious about the working-from-home system, and adopt measures like limiting the number of working-from- home days. Additionally, when their performance is poor, they even consider abolishment.

Will working from home really reduce productivity? There are studies that show that working from home improves productivity. Nicholas Bloom, a professor at Stanford University’s business school, studied the efficiency of working-from-home employees at C trip, China’s largest online travel agency, for about two years, showing a 13% improvement in performance. Professor Bloom cited a decrease in commuting time, formal meetings, and small talk as important factors. It also found that employees who worked from home were much more satisfied with their work, and working from home has the advantage of reducing quit and turnover rates. However, companies still worry about “team productivity” and evaluation. The department that IBM mainly demanded to return to office work was a marketing department wherein teamwork was important. Therefore, official working-from-home rules for each department, and appropriate collaboration tools appear to be necessary. Another concern is that employees’ sense of social isolation increases. Companies must pay attention to the working environment in the working-from-home system. Several requisite changes are still anticipated to continue the working-from-home boom.


By Noh Hyun-jin, AG Reporter

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