Trip.com to implement work from home in China – This is Shanghai

The Trip.com Group will offer employees the option to work remotely on certain weekdays starting March 1. The move will make the group the first internet company in China to implement a hybrid working model.

The new model will be rolled out to all group employees, starting with offices located in mainland China.

The implementation of the policy came after trial periods in 2010, 2020 and 2021. The latest data from the 2021 trial shows that 93% of employees felt they were using their time more efficiently and 75% reported feeling an improvement in their well-being.

Findings from the Trip.com group in support of the new hybrid working model. Picture via Trip.com

“Hybrid working will have a profound impact on the future of work-life balance, with enormous potential and benefits,” said James Liang, Chairman of the Board of Trip.com Group. “This is not a reactive measure in response to the pandemic, but a proactive decision we are making for our employees based on years of research. The Trip.com Group will continue to explore our long-term hybrid work model and drive global change.

However, Trip.com Group said that working from home during fixed hours during the week is “subject to management’s discretion”.

In the aftermath of the initial outbreak of COVID-19 in many countries, many businesses in the West and other parts of the world encouraged working from home and have since continued the practice. China, on the other hand, has largely avoided implementing work-from-home policies and recently the brutal work culture in 996 has again come under scrutiny.

The 996 work system refers to employees who work from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. six days a week. Earlier this month a 25-year-old Bilibili employee died of a cerebral hemorrhage. A trending hashtag on Weibo launched by his colleagues claimed that his death was related to overwork. Bilibili denies such claims.

The case bears similarities to the death of a technician at e-commerce group Pinduoduo in December 2020. A 22-year-old employee collapsed at 1:30 a.m. on his way home from work in the city of Urumqi. Many netizens were quick to criticize Pinduoduo’s handling of the case.

READ MORE: Technician’s death reignites concerns over ‘996’ work culture

Previouslythe founder of Alibaba, Jack Ma, spoke out in favor of the 996 system. The brutal labor regime is common among large Chinese technology companies.

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Jack Ma. Image via Weibo/@张化学

Last year the Chinese government stepped in to regulate 996 cultivation, deeming the practice illegal. According to Chinese law, a standard working day is eight hours and the maximum number of hours one can work per week is 44. Any work beyond this time constitutes overtime and must be paid in result.

However, this is not enforced. Few or no penalties are imposed on employers who force workers to work such long hours. Within the companies themselves, there is a culture that in order to get ahead of your employees and be in contention for a raise or promotion, you have to work longer than them.

Last year, the Chinese government imposed strict regulations on after-school training centers. This decision was implemented not only to reduce the pressure on the children, but also to reduce the financial burden that the training centers place on the parents.

READ MORE: After-school training centers in China struggle to survive

Some noted the move was implemented to encourage more people to start families after last year’s census found fewer Chinese were having children than before.

If the government wants to encourage more people to start families, it might help to put in place tighter restrictions on the 996 culture, which destroys any possibility of work-life balance.


[Cover image via Weibo/@热门生活头条榜]

Maria D. Ervin