Work-from-home policy in effect at major Jakarta companies over virus concerns

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The usually bustling city of Jakarta may seem less busy in the next few days as several major companies are instructing staff to work from home and, in some cases, are devising entirely new workflows over concerns about the spread of Covid-19.

Homegrown e-commerce firm Tokopedia has announced it would conduct a trial period for remote work from Monday to Tuesday to assess the viability of such a plan.

"The practice of working from home is actually commonplace among Tokopedia employees in certain divisions or situations, not just because of the recent global health issue," Tokopedia Vice President of Corporate Communications Nuraini Razak told The Jakarta Post on Sunday via text message.

"The trial run for remote work from March 16 to 17 is meant to test the employees' readiness in case they're unable to commute to the office due to possible hindrances," she added.

Similarly, a publicly listed consumer goods manufacturer, PT Unilever Indonesia, has also implemented a work-from-home policy since the World Health Organisation officially designated the Covid-19 outbreak a global pandemic earlier this month.

"Unilever globally has put in place stricter preventive measures to protect its employees and their families against Covid-19. One of the measures is implementing the work-from-home policy for office-based employees," said Unilever Indonesia spokesperson Sancoyo Antarikso, adding that such an initiative was in line with WHO's advice on social distancing.

Meanwhile, online airline ticketing and hotel booking platform Traveloka has gone the extra mile and established a special team to monitor the latest developments regarding the health emergency and to ensure that the company's day-to-day operations remain normal.

"We have also anticipated a number of possible scenarios based on the developments of the Covid-19 pandemic, such as implementing a work-from-home policy," Ongki Saputra, the company's business continuity management coordinator, told the Post.

The Post itself has also implemented a partial work-from-home policy for its staff members, as well as other preventive procedures over heightened concerns about Covid-19 in recent weeks.

Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan previously asked private business owners to prepare for a protocol concerning remote working.

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"We have yet to prepare a protocol for that, but offices and companies have to prepare for the protocols and procedures. We did not wish for this to happen, but at least they will be prepared if something happens," Anies said on Friday, while announcing that tourist destinations and entertainment places owned by the Jakarta administration would be closed for two weeks in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo also urged all Indonesians to "work from home, study from home and worship at home" in the coming weeks to stem the spread of the virus.

As of Sunday evening, Indonesia had reported 117 confirmed cases of Covid-19, as well as six deaths. Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi was confirmed to have tested positive for the coronavirus and was labelled Case 76 on Saturday.

For the latest updates on the coronavirus, visit here.