MSD Korea and Mundipharma Korea ordered their employees to work from home as of Monday amid a new surge of Covid-19 confirmed cases, only two weeks after the companies allowed them to work at the office.
The two Korean units of the multinational drugmakers are headquartered at the Seoul Square building in Chung-gu, nearby the South Gate. When they learned that a worker of another company in the same building tested positive, they urgently noticed workers at the headquarters to work from home.
MSD Korea initially lifted the mandatory work-from-home policy on April 27, and Mundipharma Korea, on April 20.
MSD Korea said it would obligate employees to work from home until Wednesday, and Mundipharma Korea, until Tuesday. However, the two are likely to extend the teleworking period, observers said.
The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has shot down only the 10th floor of the Seoul Square building to conduct an epidemiological study. Depending on the investigation results, however, the KCDC might order the closing of the entire building.
Employees at MSD Korea and Mundipharma Korea said they were stunned by the measure because they thought working from home was over.
“I was just getting adjusted to working at the office. I didn’t expect that we would go back to the telecommuting system,” said a worker wanting to remain anonymous. “I can see now that it’s not over until it’s over.”
Another employee said he heard that the confirmed worker used to work at the building and used a restaurant within the building last week, and that is why the building has been closed.
“The company notified us that we would be working from home until the middle of this week. However, we expect that the company would maintain the home-working system until the end of this week,” he added.
MSD Korea and Mundipharma Korea said they would follow the guidelines of the KCDC and the building’s maintenance team, and deliver relevant measures to their employees.
The Seoul Square building is home to more than 90 organizations, including BBC Korea, Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Korea, KG Dongbu Steel, CHA Fertility Center, WeWork Seoul Station, 11 Street, and the Embassy of Germany.
Only some of them, including MSD Korea, Mundipharma Korea, 11 Street, and Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Korea, reportedly took the work-from-home policy.
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