5 June 2020
Manuel Peitsch

Manuel Peitsch, Chief Scientific Officer

1. What were you working on during lockdown?

With my team, I continued to focus on Reduced-Risk Product assessment and the scientific matters related to our Premarket Tobacco Product (PMTA) and Modified Risk Tobacco Product (MRTP) applications for Platform 1 and other exciting developments. In addition, I assisted my team in their efforts to support the community and PMI with sample testing and other COVID-19 related initiatives. My days during lockdown did not actually change much, other than having all my meetings over Microsoft Teams and Skype rather than in person.

2. How do you think people are transitioning back to office work after the lockdown? 

In the first phase we must ensure that the return to work process protects the health of our employees and their families. This means taking all necessary measures to that effect, such as maintaining physical distance and, when appropriate, using personal protection, which will undoubtedly have an impact on our productivity in the beginning. Of course, this will gradually improve as more colleagues can come back to the Cube and to our Singapore facility.

3. What changes did you make in response to the lockdown that you’d like to keep in place in the future? 

My team demonstrated amazing entrepreneurship, drive, and an ability to quickly respond to community needs that were within our capabilities, such as producing hand sanitizer. These initiatives not only created new collaborations within PMI, but also completely new relationships with external partners and authorities. This shows once again that urgency creates purpose and meaning that my team took on board with enthusiasm and determination. This led to the breakdown of barriers and the rapid development of novel methods and solutions to address urgent needs. I hope that these collaborations continue in the future.

4. How do you predict that work-related interactions and travel will change? 

The "forced home office" was a unique opportunity to better understand how efficiently we could operate as teams in online meetings. While the tools we had at our disposal were very efficient and allowed to follow presentations and attend structured meetings, they did not fully replace the spontaneous exchange of ideas enabled by in-person meetings. In science and other areas of business, these exchanges of ideas and dialogues are crucial to progress and innovation. I would therefore predict that business travel will pick up again, but hopefully with more thoughtfulness.

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