Chile's Codelco to allow teleworking in post-coronavirus 'cultural change'

FILE PHOTO: Codelco's logo is seen at the entrance of its Ventanas copper smelter in Ventanas, Chile October 18, 2019. REUTERS/Rodrigo Garrido

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Chile’s state-owned Codelco, the world’s largest copper producer, said on Wednesday it would permanently incorporate teleworking into its shift schedule after months of experimenting with the model during the coronavirus pandemic.

The sprawling mining company, which last year slashed personnel at work sites due to sanitary restrictions in hard-hit Chile, said that it had sent some 2,700 employees home to work remotely.

“From 2021 it will be a new way of operating... to leverage the cultural change that the corporation is experiencing,” Codelco said in a statement.

The company said it would roll out a hybrid model for some of its employees, beginning in the small Gabriel Mistral division and then to its flagship El Teniente mine and beyond.

Codelco maintained output and profits through the height of the pandemic in 2020, despite being forced to rely on skeleton crews for almost half the year amid strict measures aimed at curbing the outbreak.

Reporting by Fabian Cambero; Writing by Dave Sherwood; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien