The COVID Diaries: Corporate borrower 7
The following interview is with an Australian-based corporate treasurer. It was conducted on 23 June 2020.
Does your business have a timeline for returning to office working – and are you looking forward to it?
Interestingly, 40 per cent of our team has been on site keeping our business operational as an essential service since the COVID-19 crisis began.
Personally, I have mixed feelings about returning to work. Our business has demonstrated the ability to deliver strong outcomes while working remotely and with a sharp spike in workload. I am hoping positive lessons learned weave their way into our flexibility policies. I do however miss my ergonomic work setup and huge computer monitor.
It is commonly accepted at this stage that Australia and New Zealand have done relatively well in the phase of the crisis where public health was the number one priority. Is it now time – at the margin at least – to change the emphasis towards reopening the economy?
A more collaborative approach between state governments to reopen the economy and relax social distancing restrictions would prove effective while small and big businesses scramble to keep themselves afloat.
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?
That being said, I do have lingering concerns around a second wave of infection that will need to be carefully managed as we move to relax social distancing measures.
An effective vaccine, of course, would be groundbreaking once discovered and adequately tested.
“I am very much looking forward to travelling again. From a business perspective, it will be great to reconnect with investors face-to-face and, from a leisure perspective, I eagerly await a holiday throughout Asia that I unfortunately had to put on ice earlier this year.”
Do you subscribe to the view that this crisis will radically reshape our society? What do you think will change and what will areas that some might think will change will actually revert to previous norms?
I still expect these areas of change to revert to previous norms over time as COVID-19 becomes a distant memory, though.
I also expect an increased degree of proactivity and conservatism from corporate board and management teams in assessing and managing risk, similar to that experienced following the financial crisis. Although, again, I would expect any areas of change to revert closer to previous norms.
When do you think you will next get on a plane? Are you looking forward to or dreading travelling again – for business and leisure?
I am very much looking forward to travelling again. From a business perspective, it will be great to reconnect with investors face-to-face and, from a leisure perspective, I eagerly await a holiday throughout Asia that I unfortunately had to put on ice earlier this year.
What are you most looking forward to being able to do again, as restrictions ease in the coming weeks and months?