Businesses in China Turn to Remote Work as Coronavirus Outbreak Forces People Indoors

| Updated
by Tolu Ajiboye · 3 min read
Businesses in China Turn to Remote Work as Coronavirus Outbreak Forces People Indoors
Photo: Unsplash

As people in China are not leaving their homes in fear of contracting with those who have already caught the coronavirus, the model of remote work has now become the way to go.

The coronavirus has had an unignorable effect not just in China but also in the rest of the world. Apart from stock markets that are taking a plunge, just the fear alone is creating major problems. Interestingly, one major effect of the coronavirus outbreak is that many more companies are slowly transitioning, or at least experimenting with remote work. Working from home now seems like the only option for these businesses.

Remote Work Effect of the Coronavirus

When the outbreak initially began with only a few reported cases of confirmed infection, things began to change. Some companies already asked their staff to work from home, to reduce the risk of a spread. As the outbreak worsened, the number of companies that did this began to increase, however slowly. Now, remote work is almost a necessity and no longer just an option.

According to the managing director of Reprise Digital ad agency in Shanghai, Alvin Foo, the company has had to enforce remote work for its 400 employees. Foo, however, highlights the encumbrances that come with remote work:

“It’s a good opportunity for us to test working from home at scale. Obviously, not easy for a creative ad agency that brainstorms a lot in person.”

Coronavirus Highlights Difficulty in Remote Work

For Foo and his company, things might be a lot easier than others. Reprise Digital always has the option of carrying out its normal functions using phone calls and video meetings. However, while the company’s core business allows for this, many others do not.

There are several businesses that rely on in-store customers to stay afloat. Some of these businesses, including restaurants, hotels and physical shops, are already decrying the terrible plunge in customer volume.

One of the business-types heavily hit by the lack of foot traffic caused by the coronavirus is co-working spaces. In the last few years, the number of co-working spaces skyrocketed for two major reasons. Firstly, the cost of rent began to increase, squeezing businesses out. Secondly, a new wave of tech began to spread as startups sprang up continuously.

However, now that people don’t move around much and are turning to remote work, co-working spaces could get thrown out of business. If there are no people willing to come to work, these spaces could pack up. Basically, remote work is terrible for co-working spaces.

The Near Future

Sadly, the near future still looks pretty bleak for some of these businesses. The virus is still spreading and while 475 people have recovered, confirmed cases are over 17,000. The death toll is at least 361 and this number increases daily.

As more people stay indoors and avoid public places, businesses that rely on foot traffic are at risk. Every day the number of deaths does not stagnate or reduce, increases the length of time these businesses have to struggle through.

Markets in China just reopened but have already plunged by 7%. If the virus is not curbed, this number could very easily double.

Bitcoin, however, is reaping benefits of the panic. The king coin hit new year-to-date (YTD) highs over $9,533 recently. Even though it has dropped to just above $9,300, Bitcoin price is benefiting from the adverse conditions caused by the coronavirus epidemic.

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