COVID-19: Irvine company lets employees bring kids to work for distance learning

IRVINE, Calif. (KABC) -- Flexibility has kept employees at an architectural and design firm in Irvine in the office and some of their children learning during the COVID-19 pandemic -- all under the same roof.

It's an option Thinh Nguyen is grateful for. He's a designer at Synarc Studio.

"It's a new experience," Nguyen said.

Nguyen told Eyewitness News Friday he's happy to share his desk space with his kindergartner as he takes on distance learning.

"Instead of sending him to like a daycare, which we're not comfortable with because of the COVID still," Nguyen said.

The principal of the company, Jefferson Choi, also brought his two children to the office while their schools teach online.

Choi said personally, it allows for more quality time with his kids, even some artwork. Professionally, it kept his business running.

"If this is one of the ways that I can help, where we can all continue to function the best that we can, then it just seemed like a natural solution to the situation that we have now with the pandemic going on," Jefferson said.

The three students, away from each other, had the quiet and space they needed to focus, and the bandwidth.

"There are desks here and we don't have that many desks at home," Choi's son Isaac said.

"The internet speed here is a lot faster, so we have multiple people going, so they're able to not get cut out or have glitches. I know it's been super helpful on that end," said Jennifer Coleman, human resources director.

The best perk: time with the company pet during breaks. As employee of the month, Simba can offer tips on what it takes to win the title.

Choi said overall, there was one main reason this was possible at his firm.

"We're a small group and we're like a family," Choi said.

Friday, there was another employee considering bringing his children to work, so three more students may soon join the group.

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