My Experience Working Virtually in South Korea

In order to provide context on how various countries around the world handle working virtually, we asked some of our global colleagues to share their stories. This blog provides a first-person view into the life of a virtual employee in South Korea, from the perspective of our South Korea Placement Manager, Claire Jung.

 

What Does an Average Day Look Like?

 

“Most people living in Korea usually work in an office, but due to the coronavirus outbreak, we are working virtually for the time being. Our schedule looks the same from home – it starts from nine and ends at six in the evening. The only difference is getting up later and eating dinner earlier than normal.”

 

How Do You Keep in Touch with Your Team?

 

“Using Google Hangouts or Zoom, we communicate with colleagues and clients, file paperwork, and hold video meetings. We also can make presentations, take notes, and share documents through these services. These tools make us feel like we are in the same room for a meeting even when working virtually.”

 

Was Working Virtually Popular Before COVID-19?

 

“A growing number of companies in South Korea like KT have adopted virtual work systems to promote social distancing in light of the outbreak. Looking beyond the COVID-19 outbreak, working virtually might just become a lasting change to Korea’s company culture.

 

Korean corporate world has a reputation for having a very hierarchical and centralized chain of command. This also applies to a company’s communication system, meaning that members of Korean organizations tend to spend a lot of time reporting to their superiors.”

 

How do Koreans Feel About Working Virtually?

 

“An online survey from Naver.com showed that nearly 50% of Koreans find virtual work efficient, mostly due to the lack of commute time, unnecessary meetings, and other menial tasks in Korea.

 

Some people think working virtually is inefficient, citing distractions and difficulties in reporting. Many of that group are senior-level managers, but as the younger generation graduates to senior level positions, working virtually is unlikely to be a short-lived trend. If anything, the abundance of new technology hitting the market is a clear indicator that it’s here to stay.

 

In fact, the Korean government plans to offer small and medium-sized firms up to $16,000 U.S. dollars to set up virtual work equipment and software. It also will invest huge money into developing 5G virtual reality and hologram conferencing apps to further support work from home.”

 

Do You Think Working Virtually Will Continue Past COVID-19?

 

“We definitely see the positives of working from home culture amid the COVID-19 outbreak. Yes, I presume this will impact all businesses moving forward, from corporations who are usually leading the Korean working culture, to SMEs and Startups as well.”

 

If you are interested in having your own remote working experience, check out our Virtual International Internship program held in partnership with Virtual Internships!

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