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Remote work culture

Naver's Line makes remote working the new norm; who will be next?

Line Plus is the first big business group in Korea to offer remote working as a permanent option

By Jun 18, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

Naver's Line makes remote working the new norm; who will be next?


South Korea-based Line Plus Corp. is set to become the country's first large business group to allow employees to work from home permanently. 

The move has highlighted the increasing possibility of remote working becoming the new norm post-coronavirus in Korea. Even global Big Tech companies such as Facebook and Twitter have announced plans to continue remote working. 

According to IT industry sources on June 18, Line Plus will make remote working an official option from next month. Employees can choose to work from home permanently or select days to come into the office. 

Line Plus will first apply the remote working system to its affiliate companies in Korea, and then gradually expand it to some 8,700 employees worldwide including offices in Japan, Thailand and Taiwan.

Line Plus is wholly held by Line Corporation, the subsidiary of platform giant Naver Corp. There are about 1,200 employees working at Line Plus, which oversees businesses related to mobile messenger, games and lifestyle app services.
Naver's Line makes remote working the new norm; who will be next?

Line Plus will keep its existing office, but renovate it to increase space for resting areas and meeting rooms. Also, the company will eliminate assigned seating and allow employees to choose their workstations in the office.

“Line Plus had adopted a remote working system due to the COVID-19 crisis, and the company saw that it boosted work efficiency while improving the quality of life for its employees,” said an IT industry official.

In the startup industry, real estate app operator Zigbang announced that all employees will continue working from home even after the coronavirus dies down. The startup plans to develop a metaverse platform named Metapolis to transition its offline office into a virtual office.

“Our office would need to renew the contract in late June, but we’ve decided not to extend. Instead, we will transition into a remote working environment,” said a Zigbang official.

REMOTE WORKING: INCREASED PRODUCTIVITY, REDUCED COSTS

Working from home after the coronavirus is already becoming the norm abroad. In May 2020, Twitter was one of the first Big Tech companies to announce that employees could work remotely for as long as they wanted.

Earlier in June, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that all of the company's full-time employees could continue working from home if their tasks can be done remotely.

Apple has also announced plans to adopt a hybrid workplace system in which employees could work from home two days a week.

Moving forward, the remote working trend is expected to spread to other companies in Korea given the rapid development of workplace tools that boost work efficiency to the same level or even beyond working in the office.

The adoption of workplace tools such as messengers and video calls has become more frequent and the advancement of cloud technology allows employees to use various software tools remotely.

It could also reduce costs for companies. In the first quarter of this year, Google's parent company Alphabet saved around $268 million in expenses due to remote work. AT&T saved at least $30 million in office maintenance fees by adopting a remote working system as well.

The rising remote working culture will also make it more advantageous for companies to hire top talent globally.

"Companies can attract and hire talent across the world via remote working," said an IT industry official, explaining that global hiring has increased following the global pandemic.

Write to Min-ki Koo and So-ram Jeong at kook@hankyung.com

Danbee Lee edited this article.

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