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Following the HKSAR government's decision for civil servants to return to offices starting today, half of the employers in Hong Kong followed suit by calling back their employees to the office this week to resume their normal office routine. Less than 9% of employees continued the work-from-home arrangement, according to a survey conducted jointly by 24 unions across a range of industries.

Last week, less than 20% respondents were requested to work in the office, while about one in four employers have implemented work-from-home practices.

The unions urged employers to resume the special work-from-home arrangement or consider flexible working arrangements until the coronavirus has been contained in medical terms – meaning no new cases for a consecutive period of 28 days. If employers can not guarantee a 28-day supply of face masks or other protective gears, employees should not go to the office, the unions contended.

According to a government memo last week, departments were told to prepare for the resumption of normal public services starting today. Professor David Hui Shu-cheong of the Chinese University said this would increase the risk of the outbreak spreading.

More than 690 companies and 800 employees took part in the survey.

Photo/ WSJ

The story was first reported by HK01.