Most of China has been working remotely since the Spring Festival. At least 24 of the country’s 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, including Beijing and Shanghai, have told businesses not to reopen before February 10 at the earliest to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus.
Chinese companies are using online office collaboration apps to reach employees working at home; new apps facilitate organizing meetings, checking attendance and sharing work-related documents. According to the South China Morning Post, demand for video conferencing services and other online workplace services soared this week.
Luckily, in China, there are many AI tech developers providing these apps for companies. These services charge on a monthly, per-user basis.
Although some managers worry the office exodus will lower productivity, there is plenty of evidence the opposite may be true.
For instance, a 2015 study from Stanford University in California found that productivity among call-center employees at Chinese travel agency Ctrip went up by 13 percent when they worked from home, due to fewer breaks and more comfortable work environments.
Some other points add to the appeal. Working from home is environmentally more friendly and reduces the costs of maintaining a space. Research into full-time telecommuters suggests they save $4,000 a year in food, clothing and transit costs – that’s a lot of gas, dry-cleaning chemicals and plastic cups.
Therefore, with a lot of office collaboration apps and scientific evidence supporting the benefits of working from home, Chinese managers don’t need to worry about the well-being of their businesses.
In the meantime, the number of active users of office collaboration apps is increasing at a skyrocketing pace, which means more business opportunities for Chinese developers in that market segment.