Group, China’s largest online travel company, will roll out a hybrid working model, allowing employees to do their jobs remotely for up to two days a week GroupChina’s largest online travel service provider, will roll out a hybrid working policy across its global operations from March 1, allowing approximately 33,400 employees worldwide to perform their work remotely for up to two days per week.

The Shanghai-based company – operating online travel agencies, Ctrip and Qunar, as well as travel metasearch engine Skyscanner – said the move would make it the “first internet company in mainland China to implement a comprehensive proactive hybrid working model”. , according to its statement on Tuesday.

The policy will be implemented in the group’s offices in the mainland, Hong Kong and 16 other regions, adjusted according to local circumstances and protective measures against Covid-19.

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“When a good part of the company is working remotely, their job satisfaction will improve,” said James Liang Jianzhang, the group’s co-founder and executive chairman, in an online group interview with media on Tuesday. “[This hybrid working model] helps ease urban traffic congestion and contributes to employees’ work-life balance, which could even increase the country’s fertility rate. »

James Liang Jianzhang, co-founder and executive chairman of Group. Photo: Document alt=James Liang Jianzhang, co-founder and executive chairman of Group. Picture: Document>

Liang said he expected the group’s appeal to existing employees and new workers to increase due to its hybrid work policy. “I hope that… other peers will join us [in carrying out this strategy],” he said.

The effort could help the Group further distance itself from China’s infamous tech sector 996 working culture, while helping the company hire valuable talent in anticipation of a post-pandemic rebound in global travel. The 996 schedule, which refers to working 12 hours a day, six days a week, has become an unwritten norm for many mainland Chinese tech companies.

Hong Kong shares of the group, also listed on Nasdaq, rose 0.96% to close at HK$230.80 on Tuesday.

While the hybrid working model has been widely adopted in Silicon Valley and Wall Street companies, especially during the coronavirus pandemic, the approach is relatively new for private companies in mainland China. However, businesses in the world’s second-largest economy have been forced to adopt remote working strategies in line with government-imposed community lockdowns to halt the spread of Covid-19.

Despite Group’s claim to be the first Chinese tech company to actively implement a hybrid working model, the e-commerce giant Alibaba Holding Group in December started allowing employees to work from home one day a week. Alibaba is the parent company of the South China Morning Post.

Yet the Shanghai company’s decision to pursue a hybrid working model was based on two large-scale localized hybrid experiments it conducted in August last year and in 2010. The results of its recent trial of six months, which had more than 1,600 participants, shows that “93% of employees feel they are using their time more effectively and more than 75% said they feel an improvement in their well-being,” according to the statement. business on Tuesday.

“We’ve seen more structured work styles, like specifying days when teams and colleagues would be in the office,” said Michelle Yeung, studio manager for the Hong Kong branch of the American design and architecture firm. Gensler. “Tech companies are among those reporting their greatest preference for hybrid working.”

Gensler Data China Workplace survey 2021 showed that 87% of respondents were already in a hybrid working model. This survey had more than 3,000 participants, mostly employees in metropolitan France.

In Hong Kong, the hybrid working model is well established, according to Yeung. “Many organizations, from technology companies to companies in other industries, have already started implementing flexible working options in 2020,” she said.

This article originally appeared in the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the most authoritative voice on China and Asia for over a century. For more SCMP stories, please explore the SCMP app or visit the SCMP Facebook and Twitter pages. Copyright © 2022 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

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