South Korean telcos adopt new working practices in face of coronavirus

The increasingly international coronavirus outbreak has forced telecom and tech firms to adopt alternative working arrangements, with network operator SK Telecom instructing most staff to work from home for at least the next two weeks, according to local media reports.

SKT, and other parts of the broader SK Group, had introduced a telecommuting policy on Monday, but according to ZDnet it shut its headquarters in Seoul on Wednesday after an employee tested positive for the virus.

While SKT has adopted a broad telecommuting strategy – just a few necessary staff are still being asked to turn up to their place of work – KT Corp. has opted to allow staff to work from home on a rotating basis, reports The Korea Herald. Samsung and LG have also introduced new working arrangements, especially for pregnant employees.

South Korea is one of the current hot spots for cases of the new coronavirus (or COVID-19), so the news is not surprising. Italy has emerged as another country with an alarming and growing number of cases, leading national operator TIM to abandon a digital training roadshow (Operazione Risorgimento Digitale) earlier this week.

As everyone in the industry knows, this year's Mobile World Congress was canceled due to concerns about the potential spread of the virus, while a number of companies, notably Ciena and Lumentum, have already withdrawn from the upcoming annual optical show, OFC, which is due to be held in San Diego, California, starting March 8.

It's hard to imagine there are many sectors not impacted in some way by the spread of the virus and many businesses and organizations have had their plans disrupted.

What's most important, of course, is that people put the health and safety of themselves, their families, friends and colleagues before all else.

— Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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