Seoul, South Korea, March 13, 2020 -- Korea's telecom companies are taking precautionary measures for their call centers staff after over 100 workers at one such center and their family members were confirmed to have contracted COVID-19.
Over 20,000 people work at the three companies' call centers nationwide. In order to better prevent the spread of the epidemic, SK Telecom (SKT), KT and LG U+ said they've decided to let the employees work from home.
SKT, the country's largest mobile carrier, received about 1,500 applications from call center workers to work from home, about 25 percent of its 6,000 call center staff.
"Currently 300 are operating from home, but by next week 1,500 people are expected to do so," an SKT official said.
The company said management would ensure that working conditions at the employees' homes would be similar to those at their offices so that they can access operations systems.
The company has taken strong measures against the coronavirus for those working at its offices by providing masks and hygiene products, as well as increasing the distance between desks to separate callers from each other.
"We have decided to initiate the work from home policy for call center employees as public concern over safety has risen," an SKT official said. "We will do our utmost to prevent the spread of the virus and secure the safety of call center employees and their families."
The move comes after the Korea Communications Commission (KCC), the country's telecom regulator, called on the firms to strengthen preventative measures against the virus in its call centers, Wednesday.
"Telecom companies need to take extra precautionary measures and provide a safe environment for consultants to work in," KCC Chairman Han Sang-hyuk said. "In preparation, telecom companies need to establish or expand their work at home system for call center employees."
KT and LG have been implementing flexible working hours as well as allowing more staff to work from home, in addition to other quarantine efforts.
"We have around 300 consultants working from home, but we are receiving more applications and will increase the number," a company official said. "Also we are utilizing our offices and training centers to relocate around 20 percent or 1,200 call center employees to better spread out the workforce."
"Currently, 300 SMS and cyber consultants are working from home. We are working on security issues and establishing infrastructure so that more consultants can work from home as we plan to expand the number within this month," an LG official said.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
About SK Telecom:
SK Telecom Co., Ltd. is a South Korean wireless telecommunications operator, controlled by the SK Group, one of the country's largest chaebol. SK Telecom is a provider of mobile service in South Korea, with 50.5% of the market share as of 2008.
Published: Monday, March 16, 2020
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