On Monday, multinational online travel agency Trip.com Group announced that it would implement a hybrid work policy starting from March 1, making it possibly the first large Chinese company to adopt a hybrid work model.
According to a press release, employees based in the Chinese mainland can apply two days in advance to work remotely up to two times per week on Wednesdays and Fridays. This policy will be expanded to the company’s international offices in alignment with local circumstances and Covid-19 restrictions.
“Companies should be more open and proactive in embracing a hybrid work model,” said James Liang, chairman of the board at Trip.com. “In terms of improving employee satisfaction, increasing business efficiency, and reducing travel time, a hybrid work model can profoundly affect the wellness of employees and improve their work-life balance.”
Image via Trip.com
The company had previously conducted two internal hybrid work trials and surveys in 2010 and 2021, respectively. Both results showed that the working model significantly lowered the turnover rate with no substantial impact on work performance.
Moreover, nearly 80% of employees said in the survey that the hybrid work style helped them improve wellness and work-life balance.
“It actually bumps up my productivity,” said a manager in the business development department.
Linette Lim, a public relations manager at Trip.com, told RADII that she looked forward to hybrid work.
“My commute to-and-from work takes up two hours, so the prospect of being able to free up those hours is very attractive to me,” she said. “The boost from this change is really the flexibility and the sense of trust. This change is really another way the company encourages staff to live a full life in and out of the office.”
Big tech corporations in China are notorious for demanding excessive working hours. Even when companies such as Bytedance try to tackle the issue by canceling required overtime, workers are sarcastic and dissatisfied with the change. Moreover, the tragic deaths of tech industry employees have also triggered anger online.
In response to overbearing work cultures, some young workers in China try to challenge the status quo by openly protesting and supporting each other.
In October 2021, a shared online spreadsheet documenting working hours across different industries in China circulated on the internet in an effort to unite young workers against excessive overtime.
More recently, a Tencent employee and recent graduate publicly challenged the company and quit the job after his team awarded a staffer for intense overtime.
Cover photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash
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