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Telecommuters don't really feel at home amidst COVID-19 epidemic in Vietnam

Sunday, March 22, 2020, 16:51 GMT+7
Telecommuters don't really feel at home amidst COVID-19 epidemic in Vietnam
A woman works from home alongside her family members in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre

As companies in Vietnam have allowed employees to work from home amidst the increasingly serious novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) epidemic, a lot of people have felt working has become more comfortable, but many others are not so happy.

With the number of COVID-19 patients in the Southeast Asian country reaching 99 and an increase in confirmed cases in such major cities as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, employers have decided that it is best to ensure the safety of their human resources.

Nguyen Van Du, director of the First Page search marketing agency, said he had told his employees to switch to working from home since early February.

Du himself and some employees in charge would come to the office to do such tasks as printing, sending delivery, or planning project acceptance.

For bigger firms like Isobar Vietnam, a digital agency, teams have been taking turns coming to the office to cope with the epidemic.

Similarly, YouNet Group, which has six companies and more than 350 employees, has divided each department into two groups.

Each month, one group has to work at the office for two weeks before the other takes over.

“With this approach, we make sure not all of our employees are quarantined if one of them is infected with the virus,” said Nguyen Hai Trieu, co-founder and vice-chairman of YouNet Group.

Challenges

According to Chau Le, a resident in District 7, Ho Chi Minh City, telecommuting has given her a sense of comfort and freedom.

However, for some people like Lan Phuong, an accountant for a foreign corporation in Vietnam, working from home is not easy as owning a computer and having Internet access.

Phuong said she had to carry her entire CPU from the office to her house as it is the only way to access the software that is vital to her daily tasks.

Truc Giang, a manager of a media service company, said that she is often distracted by her young children while working at home.

“The younger one kept crying, wanting me to talk with him and buy him new toys, while the older was upset that I did not take good care and pay enough attention,” Giang recalled her first work-from-home day.

Hong Quyen, a resident in District 5, said that she has to make sure the meetings with the firm’s partners are carried out as scheduled despite working remotely.

Quyen stated she has to meet the partners at coffee shops instead of the office, which can be noisy and distracting.

She can also convenes online meetings, but slow Internet speed often poses a lot of challenges.

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