The COVID Diaries: corporate borrower 1
The following interview is with an Australian-based corporate treasurer. It was conducted on 24 April 2020.
Do you feel you have adapted to working from home and how close are you to business as usual – personally and in the sense of market functionality?
We have conference calls and video meetings, but I do miss the collaborative team environment. There are four of us in the treasury team and in the office we sit close to one another, so it is much easier to have light conversation during the day as opposed to having to schedule a meeting.
It is also much easier to bounce ideas off one another when everyone is in the office. By its nature, internally and externally, treasury is very relationship driven. The fact we can’t have the same amount of face-to-face contact is not a good thing in my view.
Has your view of the crisis and the nature of the challenges it presents changed? It seems Australia has prioritised public health over the economy, at least in the medium term. How are you thinking about that trade off?
There will be a lot of hurt and a lot of economic downtime in Australia. At first everyone was hoping the lockdown would be short and sharp and, as much as we can probably see some light at the end of the tunnel now, we don’t know what the new normal will look like.
The economy will certainly not be going to be back to where it was prior to the crisis for a long time, if ever. This is what I am most worried about – how long we will be suppressed for and what the long-term implications are.
“One thing I can’t get my head around is public transport. When people begin regularly going into work again, how do we determine how many people are allowed on a train carriage?”
How do you think things will be different when we get back to normal? What changes can you see to work practices, social changes and the economy?
Are you more or less optimistic about the crisis than you were during the early acceleration period of moving to home working and adding social distancing measures?
How do you think the exit route might play out?
A lot of organisations will probably still have ‘A’ and ‘B’ teams alternating going into the office and social distancing measures will probably still need to be in place for a while as restrictions are eased.
One thing I can’t get my head around is public transport. When people begin regularly going into work again, how do we determine how many people are allowed on a train carriage?
We have been asking people what they have been reading relating to the crisis but we think everyone has seen enough by this stage. What are your entertainment recommendations for lockdown?
At home we have been playing a lot of card games and doing a lot of cooking. I have rediscovered the kitchen, which is quite nice.
Everyone is thinking a lot about the negatives of self-isolation, but we are quite lucky in Australia that we can get out and about to exercise. I have been going for a walk every day. It is amazing what you find in your own neighbourhood when you get out and have a look.
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