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Vietnamese firms embrace telework trend

Wednesday, July 26, 2017, 17:00 GMT+7

As Japan launched a campaign encouraging companies to allow their employees to work from home, some Vietnamese enterprises reveal that they already apply a similar policy, believing that the quality of work is more important than the workplace.

The Japanese government’s campaign will be observed annually for the next three years, starting on July 24, known as Telework Day, in a bid to reduce congestion ahead of the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

According to Japanese media, more than 900 companies participated in the first Telework Day on Monday, even though commuters gave mixed responses to the campaign.

In Vietnam, many tech or tech-based companies already allow employees to work remotely, even though it is not an official policy.

Advocates of the trend say telework will create a friendly and open business culture, and help to retain talent.

Work from home, work better

Thanh Tam, a specialist working for a media company in Ho Chi Minh City, encourages her employees to work “from anywhere they deem comfortable, even at home.”

“Work effectiveness is the top priority, no matter where the workplace is,” Tam told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.

“So my employees can choose where they want to work from.”

Sharing this view, Thu Ha, an editor of a local news website, said she was able to telecommute because “my job does not require me to be in the office.”

“So long as I can get things done, I can just stay at home,” she said.

For some employers in Vietnam, telling their employees not to go to the office is like giving them an incentive or reward.

Nghia, a KPMG employee based in Ho Chi Minh City, said his company has had a semi-telework program called “Feel Good Friday” in place for several years.

The policy, which runs for one month twice a year, only requires employees to be present at the office on Friday morning, and they can choose wherever they want to work from in the afternoon.

“On some special occasions, the program can run longer than usual,” Nghia said.

The reward has paid off, winning great support from staff and greater productivity, according to Paul Huynh, KPMG head of people, performance and culture for Vietnam, Cambodia and the Asia-Pacific region.

Huynh said the number of employees participating in the program had doubled, with many realizing that they can work effectively without going to the workplace.

“The program was initiated to create an opportunity for employees to work from anywhere they want and build up a friendly, open and relaxed business culture,” Huynh told Tuoi Tre.

“The program has been a real success as many of our partners have asked to adopt the model for their own companies.”

Vo Quang Hue, CEO of Bosch Vietnam, has told Tuoi Tre the company has allowed its employees to work from home for years and the results have been more positive than expected.

“Most of the employees are satisfied and productivity significant improves,” he said.

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