There are probably very few areas of life where I’m ahead of you. One of them might be intercompany agreements for TP compliance. Another might be surviving* coronavirus quarantine – having spent around 5 weeks of ‘lock down’ in China, and then another two weeks of self-isolation in the UK.
Since there seems a real possibility of China-style lock-down being followed in other countries as well as Italy, I thought I would share with you what it was like for us, and some tips for keeping relatively sane.
At the time, we were living on the 18th floor of a tower block in Xinzheng, Zhengzhou (around 300 miles from Wuhan). Initially, public places like cinemas were closed, and movement between districts of the city was restricted. Surgical masks were mandatory at all times for anyone outside their own home. Then came the announcement that schools would not re-open following the end of the usual Chinese New Year holiday period, and then came the ‘lock-down’ proper.
Unlike the situation in Wuhan and some other metropolitan areas, the authorities did not turn off the power supply to the lifts for our block. However, access to and from our development was strictly controlled by the security guards and concierge team, who used infra red sensors to check people’s temperatures. Exit and entry was limited to one family member at a time, between the hours of 8am and 12 noon, for essentials like buying food. (Interestingly, there appeared to be no panic-buying of toilet rolls.) We were strongly advised to remain in the flat at all times.
Strangely, the most terrifying aspect was not the health situation. It was the prospect of enforced home-schooling for three children aged 3, 7 and 8. Could we stay productive? Would we all lose our minds, cooped up in a flat with no outside space?
Our children’s schools did try to provide support, by circulating copious assignments via WeChat – but it didn’t really help (partly because Chinese-style education is so different compared to what we were used to from a UK perspective). Here are our top five tips:
- Make a daily timetable with your children.
- Include daily items like physical exercise, projects involving writing, listening to music, watching documentaries, making videos and ‘free time’.
- Home cooking is strongly recommended.
- Stick to your daily routine.
- Count your blessings – you may never get another time with your children like this.
On the subject of counting our blessings, we are extremely fortunate as a firm that we’re already set up for remote working. Almost all of our projects are delivered entirely by email, phone and Skype, and most of our training is done via webinar.
So I would like to extend an offer of free one-on-one training on international corporate structures, intercompany agreements and the legal implementation of TP for you and your team – whether you and your team are in an office, in your own respective homes, in solitude or with your children in the background. The training will include flexibility to discuss your specific arrangements and whatever transaction types or issues are of most pressing relevance to you.
To arrange a session, just reply email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can arrange a time slot.
* I should hasten to add that I’m no medical expert.