AMCHAM: Please explain the sequences of information that made you aware of the emerging Covid crisis in Luxembourg?
Annemarie Wispelweij: As a relocation company, it is in the interest of our clients, that we are aware of what is going on in Luxembourg, as well as worldwide. We stay informed via local and international newspapers and social media. As many of our clients also need medical exams, we speak regularly with GP’s; their feedback also keeps us up to date. As our offices were closed, no client meetings were held there.
What were your first actions in response to protect your employees, your company, and your clients?
We followed the regulations of the Luxembourg government. Luckily, most of our employees can work from home, and that became the rule. Only really necessary visits to the office were allowed and planned (maximum of 2 people). Everyone had facemasks when meeting someone and kept the correct distance. In the office, we put disinfectant gel and wipes at everyone’s disposal.
We made sure to ventilate the office several times per day (open all windows). Office furniture was rearranged (over 2 meters of distance). I have to say that all my employees were very committed to the cause and did not complain.
How has your’ approach for managing this Covid crisis evolved over the period of this crisis and what management practices changes have you made to protect your company, your employees and your customers?
The regulations are still in place, but we listen to our employees and clients. Some are more worried than others. If they prefer extra safety, we will look for solutions. New services, e.g., virtual visits and orientations tour, have been developed to ensure the safety.
What information guidance and support did you receive from the Luxembourg government, and did you find this sufficient and appropriately helpful?
The Luxembourg government has put special arrangements in place for the short time working, which was a relief during these impacted times, with all the other general assistance e.g. brochures, facemasks, testing, informative websites etc. – probably more than in neighboring countries.
How did the situation evolve and what is the current business recovery status of your clients and your companies in Luxembourg?
As soon as it was possible for our transferees to travel, we fully resumed our services, with safety restrictions in place. It is good to see that the health situation in Luxembourg did not prevent our clients from relocating their employees to Luxembourg again.
As we continue to recovery how do you see the reality of the emerging “New Normal” on your business model?
With confidence. I think we are resilient and creative enough to deal with the ‘new normal’, whenever that may kick in.
From your perspective as a small sized Luxembourg business entity, what have you and your staff learned and how have you changed your leadership and management approaches as a result of coming through this crisis?
The covid crisis has emphasized certain services, that we already offered. We realize the importance of a good network and aim to share this with our clients. We will continue to listen to our clients and will always try to implement their wishes in our services.
As a business leader operating in Luxembourg, how and in what ways are you optimistic and pessimistic for the future?
We are generally optimistic; Luxembourg is a good place for companies and their employees. There is a steady flow of expats moving to Luxembourg; some appreciate the country so much they do not want to leave.
Please assess Luxembourg’s attractiveness as an international business location. Going forward. What are your perceptions of Luxembourg’s perceived Strengths and weaknesses?
The stable Luxembourgish government is willing to invest to attract highly skilled workers and create a regional blending, making Luxembourg an attractive destination for investors.
The possible introduction of a worldwide uniform corporate tax system may well have a negative impact on the future of Luxembourg.
Have there been any recent structural changes in the company?
Almost 2 years ago Map Relocations Benelux merged with the Cooptalis Group, an international talent management company (Recruitment, Relocation and Immigration, Training) with their headquarters in Lille, France. Due to the pandemic the integration took longer than originally planned. But as it stands today, we are almost there 😊
Many thanks to Annemarie Wispelweij for this interview!