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Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Crowded offices may become a thing of the past

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HCMC – During the Covid-19 pandemic, many Vietnamese firms allowed employees to work from home. Now that the social distancing measures have been lifted, firms are weighing whether part of their work force might continue working from home.

Tech companies are pioneering the trend of working from home, as opposed to tattoo parlors, hair salons or bars, for example, which require direct interaction with customers.

“It is clear that these companies are leading the way in allowing employees to work remotely. That trend is, and will spread, all over the world, ” noted Ngo Duc Hoang, director of IC Design Research and Education Center (HCMC), which employs some 50 specialists.

Nguyen Tri Hieu, a banking and financial expert who worked in the United States for many years, noted, “The tendency to work remotely, we call it ‘online’, is a global trend. It also includes electronic payments, electronic purchases, and other electronic transactions.”

“Working from home is relatively easy to do with software businesses, consulting, teaching, and research firms… My center, which is mainly a research firm, has had employees operating from home for some time. Of course, this is based on the conditions and circumstances of each employee. This is not a mandatory process yet,” said Hoang.

In fact, a number of Vietnamese businesses moved to a remote working model beginning in the early days of the coronavirus outbreak, and possibly before that, such as Hoang did.

Nguyen Bao Tri, IT director of Unilever Vietnam, said that the company closed its main office during the pandemic and employees worked remotely without any problems. He said that for some time, Unilever Vietnam has been digitizing jobs, including invoicing, signing electronic documents, storing data in electronic warehouses, and others.

“During the social distancing period, working from home allowed our employees to become more creative, especially in dealing remotely with customers,” said Hoang.

Working from home, of course, will affect the “height” of cities and the commercial real estate industry, as well. It also will cause corporate cultures to change.

“Working from home is a great thing for companies and their employees, who may not want to go back to the office with cars, having to drive for two hours. That causes losses to productivity,” said Joan Burke, HR director of DocuSign, a technology company in San Francisco.

“The West focuses on work efficiency and self-discipline, so people learn discipline in schools. Today, they adapt faster to a new normal. But it should be seen as an opportunity to change corporate cultures, change work habits and to improve work efficiency,” said a HCMC business consultant.

Some HCMC banks and businesses have fewer people working in their offices.

Which means companies need to be more creative in working with customers.

By Ngoc Tran

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