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Working Capital Insider: Life at a Glance – Hong Kong After COVID-19

 

By • Published May 27, 2020 • 5 minute read

In this Working Capital Insider™ video interview, Director of Customer Success APAC Serge Thieulle shares what life is like in Hong Kong post COVID-19.

Tom Roberts:

Welcome back to another Working Capital Insider video. I’m Tom Roberts, Head of Marketing for PrimeRevenue. And I’m joined this morning for me and this evening for him by Serge Thieulle. He runs our Hong Kong office and Serge is a true PrimeRevenue veteran. He’s been in the company since 2013, first in our product operation and then for the last four years running Hong Kong. So Serge, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me today.

Serge Thieulle:

Thank you very much for having me and good morning.

Tom Roberts:

So you guys sort of were the pioneers, for us at least, of work from home. You guys had your dry run with work from home during the Hong Kong protests last year, and then started working from home in early January because of the pandemic and COVID. Can you talk to us a little bit about your experience going through that.

Serge Thieulle:

Sure. So first of all, working from home is nothing new for us. Many of us travel regularly, and we need to be able to have access to all our tools. During the Hong Kong protests, we had short periods during which we had to stay home and everyone worked from home. And then when COVID-19 hit Hong Kong, we’ve been working from home for a much longer period.

Tom Roberts:

I know in the last couple of weeks, you guys have shifted back to working from the office. Can you tell us about how you’ve structured that, how have you approached it, and what you’ve learned?

Serge Thieulle:

It’s a gradual approach. We are now in the first phase – we’re working [in the office] one day a week and in teams.

Tom Roberts:

And what precautions are you taking? Also what [precautions are] the building taking, and when do you think you’ll be back more fully than one day in the office?

Serge Thieulle:

First of all, masks. We’re wearing masks of course, outside of the office when we travel, as does every single Hong Konger. We also wear a mask in the office. When we arrive in the office, we have to clean our hands. We also have someone coming in the office, cleaning the whole office, doorknobs and everything that we may touch. And the office also has a procedure where everyone entering the premises has their temperature taken and cleans their hands.

Tom Roberts:

Two additional questions. Are the masks mandated in Hong Kong? And then secondly, when do you think you’ll be back more fully in the office then one day a week?

Serge Thieulle:

Masks are not mandatory, the police would not stop you, but everyone has a mask. I think it’s something that the whole Hong Kong community understands. We’re protecting each other by all wearing a mask. Now regarding the second step situation, Hong Kong looks really good. So we’re thinking of coming back two days a week in June.

Tom Roberts:

What are you hearing from both customers and suppliers across Asia overall?

Serge Thieulle:

First of all, when this started, some of our suppliers were a bit worried. They heavily rely on us to get their cash early and have contacted us to understand our guidelines and procedures, to ensure business continuity that we share with them. And obviously we’ve respected this and ensured that every supplier could trade at any time they wanted and to get that cash and continue their business.

Tom Roberts:

What are you hearing from them about demand for them returning overall or the health of their business?

Serge Thieulle:

I’m happy to say that from our numbers, as we speak, the volumes that we see on our platform in 2020 are very similar in May compared to what we saw in 2019. So that shows that in Asia Pacific, our clients are back to business.

Tom Roberts:

Well, Serge, I’m so happy that you and the team are getting back to the office and getting back to normalcy. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting you, it’s a great culture, it’s a great group of people.

Serge Thieulle:

Thank you.

Tom Roberts:

I’m happy you’re back. And I really appreciate you taking time to talk with me today. And for all of you who are watching, we appreciate your time. Please check our LinkedIn feed for additional content and video series like this, as well as other things we’re publishing as we see our customers, who represent the global economy, coming back online. Thanks very much and have a safe day and take care. Thank you.

Serge Thieulle:

Thank you very much.