Businesses across Taiwan are scrambling to figure out how to return to work safely following a surge in domestic COVID-19 infections over the weekend, as the Centers for Disease Control guidelines call for companies to consider allowing their employees to telecommute.
Contract electronics maker Compal Electronics Inc (仁寶電腦) said employees who live in Taipei’s Wanhua District (萬華), and New Taipei City’s Banciao (板橋) and Lujhou (蘆州) districts would work from home for a week while other staff would work at the office.
Pegatron Corp (和碩), another contract electronics manufacturer which reported that one of its employees had tested positive for COVID-19, said it would divide employees into three groups to work in staggered shifts.
Semiconductors MediaTek Inc (聯發科) and Macronix International Co (旺宏) said they have requested employees who live in Taipei and New Taipei City to work remotely and in rotating shifts at the their Hsinchu offices and factories.
“As the pandemic alert has been raised to level 3, the company has upgraded its pandemic countermeasures again,” Macronix said in a statement. “Employees commuting between Taipei or New Taipei City [and Hsinchu] should work from home.”
Factory workers are divided into shifts that would rotate, Macronix said.
Non-essential visitors and suppliers are prohibited from entering the company premises, it said.
To reduce unnecessary movement, most business travel has been suspended and videoconferences would replace face-to-face meetings, it added.
MediaTek also announced similar measures to safeguard employees’ health and the company’s operations, with about 1,000 employees from 27 sites worldwide working remotely, it said.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) said it would divide its workers into separate teams to minimize the risk of COVID-19 infection.
All non-essential vendors would be restricted from entering its facilities, it said in a statement.
TSMC employees and vendors with long-term ID badges must avoid moving across the Hsinchu, Taichung and Tainan sites, the chipmaker said.
Cross-site and Hsinchu site shuttle buses have been canceled, but commuter shuttle buses and Taichung and Tainan site shuttle buses would operate according to the planned separation of working areas and movement flows, it said.
Lloyd Roberts, who works at the Taipei office of the international law firm Eiger, said the transition to working from home has been seamless.
“They have spent a lot of time and money to make sure we have the best videoconferencing,” Roberts said. “We were already well-equipped before the pandemic, so we have been able to ease into it without a hitch.”
Outside the greater Taipei area, where most of the cases are, work seems to be less affected.
“Outside Taipei, it is business as usual,” said Manual Zehr, a consultant with Formosa Business Support, a consultancy for the offshore wind farm industry. “Crews are recruiting, training and operating.”
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Economic Affairs confirmed that an employee tested positive and had come into contact with five colleagues, prompting the ministry to divide its staff across two zones to work separately.
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