The Etiquette of Working from Home

Numerous companies have adopted a work-from-home policy in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. Since then, video conferencing and webinars have become a new norm during working hours. This sudden change, however, has left many people baffled at remote working etiquette.

On April 23, William Zyzo, Managing Director of Z&A Knowledge Solutions and Advisor to AmCham Taipei’s Advanced Learning Lab, completed a popular series of AmCham online seminars entitled “How to Have the Impact of Face-to-Face Interactions Online.” Here is his list of advice on how to look good on screen:

  • Clothing: Put on proper attire even when working at home; appearance affects people’s perception of one’s professionalism.
  • Camera: Have cameras level with one’s head. Don’t have the audience looking at your nostrils. Stack up display screens (with monitor stands or books) if necessary.
  • Lighting: Keep the lighting coming from above. Sit close to windows if possible, since natural light is preferable.
  • Background: Keep it clean, nothing distracting.
  • Audio: Keep microphones off when not speaking in order to prevent unwanted noise from interrupting conversations. It is also important to find a quiet place to conduct video calls.

Breakout room activity

Virtual Whiteboard to share ideas with participants

AmCham Taipei Holds Online Press Conference to Announce Results of COVID-19 Flash Survey

AmCham Taipei held an online press conference on April 15 to announce the results of the Chamber’s COVID-19 Flash Survey. The event was held remotely in consideration of social distancing suggestions and safety concerns regarding the COVID-19 outbreak. Local and international media outlets logged in to join the conference and raise questions about the results.

The Flash Survey was intended to follow up on the Chamber’s annual Business Climate Survey, which was held between January and February of this year, when the outbreak began intensifying. Members were asked about whether the pandemic had affected their business in Taiwan, in what ways they were negatively impacted, and what kind of measures they were taking to deal with the impact, among other questions. 

After presenting the survey results, AmCham Taipei Chairman C.W. Chin and President William Foreman answered questions sent in by reporters. Foreman emphasized that very few respondents said that they have laid off or furloughed employees as a way to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on business, while a majority of respondents stated that they have no plans to do so in the future. 

Rather, Foreman noted, many companies are using the downtime caused by the pandemic to do trainings and work through new strategic issues. Chin followed by saying that the reluctance to resort to laying off employees shows that Taiwan is a bright spot for doing business during the crisis. He referred to the continued robust operation of the semiconductor industry as a case in point.

Advice for Human Resources in Special Times

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies have implemented remote working. This new work style has created ambiguity in the field of labor regulations.

On April 7, AmCham Taipei’s Human Resources Committee hosted a webinar with two speakers with expertise in this area: Christine Chen, who heads Winkler Partners’ employment practice, and Heather Hsiao, a partner at Eiger Law and an experienced attorney and speaker on employment issues. This webinar was AmCham Taipei’s first online event. The two labor experts offered a list of guidelines regarding work-from-home:

  • Working hours – use electronic communication applications, such as email, LINE app, etc. to record working time.
  • Equipment – employers have an obligation to provide necessary equipment for employees to properly work remotely.
  • Quarantined workers – companies are required to prevent quarantined employees from being at work. The quarantine period cannot be counted as any type of leave. Neither can it be the reason for lay-off.
  • Wages – employees working remotely shall receive the same wages as working in the office, provided other working conditions remain the same. For quarantined workers, employers are encouraged but not obliged* to maintain regular salaries during a quarantine period. Companies that maintain normal salary payments will be eligible for tax reductions.

*If employers are not the reason for the quarantine.


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