Roy Gilbert

How Covid-19 led to a nationwide work-from-home experiment

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Tao Yu usually works in a stylish office in Shanghai, China’s major financial hub, as a member of German automaker Porsche’s marketing department. But since the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak the 28-year-old, like tens of millions of her compatriots, has been forced to work from home.

Tao is from Hubei, the southern province where the virus originated, and she is working from her family home in Huanggang, a city of 7.5 million people. It is the second most affected city, after Wuhan. “I get up, have breakfast, come to my room and start working,” she says.

Tao is not a fan of working from home, but it’s what many of her neighbours are doing as the city is in lockdown. She worries about what her colleagues think of her. “I want to show that working at home and in the office is the same, but I’m worried my colleagues will think it’s not fair. They might think working from home is luxurious,” she explains. Since 3 February, millions of Chinese have been experiencing the pros and cons of the home office for the first time

In China, working from home is much less common than in the West. But since 3 February, when local governments and companies across the nation encouraged workers to stay at home, millions of Chinese have been experiencing the pros and cons of the home office for the first time.

With normally busy streets in major cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou eerily quiet, this mass experiment in working […]

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