Pandemic… it is such a fear-inducing word, isn’t it? While some of us may be feeling the world has gone crazy, others might be thinking rightfully so, it is a Pandemic after all, but despite where you stand on the topic one thing is certain you can’t avoid the issue. We are entering unprecedented times and the waters we are about to navigate are unchartered, but now is not the time to stick our heads in the sand. Certain things may be out of our control, but we need to take stock of what we can control and focus on ways to move forward as an individual, business or community in this time of crisis. Yes, it is a time of crisis, but don’t be paralysed by the fear, this could actually be your time to shine. We all like a challenge, well this is certainly going to be one that is going to test our generation like no other, but remember humanity has survived pandemics before, as well as World Wars and the Great Depression, what has history proven? We survive.
Contingency planning is rarely thought of in a business until the unexpected happens. A business continuity plan (BCP) is a set of guidelines designed to help your organisation through not just these current events, but any potential interruption to your business that forces either your office to be shut down and your team to work from home. It is preparing for the unexpected, and as we are all now experiencing the unexpected does happen once sometimes even twice in a lifetime.
Real Estate Business Tips for Coronavirus Contingency Planning
1) Communication – Never is communication more essential than in times of crisis. Communication with your team and workforce is the first priority, keeping them calm and focused is number one. Your clients want to know that you are taking care of them, that they don’t need to worry unnecessarily about things, you’ve got their backs and will continue working hard to give them peace of mind. How you nurture them through a crisis will be long remembered after the crisis ends.
2) Messaging – Ensure you are clear about the messages you are giving your team and clients. This needs to be consistent and positive and reassuring everyone each step of the way, this will continue to build their trust in you.
3) Planning – Work out a plan of attack around what essential aspects of your business can keep rolling as normal and which ones will need adjusting in light of the situation. Break them down for each department and delegate a team leader to be responsible for ensuring the rest of the team is across the plan moving forward.
4) Software – It’s not too late to have most of your business working from cloud-based systems or software. This means your team can literally pack up and work from anywhere. If you still work off a server this can be set up to be accessed remotely by an IT specialist, otherwise, make the move over to One Drive or Google Documents. There is even software for your computers so your phones can still be answered remotely. It is never too late to make the move to paperless if your business permits.
5) Work from Home – If your team is forced into a work from home situation, ensure you can make them accountable for their work and KPI’s. A daily zoom with everyone is one easy way to reconnect and focus everyone and set an agenda or make goals for the day. Invest in laptops if possible and have a good IT company in hand for any team issues working from home environments.
6) Improve your Business – Yes that is right you heard me, look for opportunities or ways to improve or grow your business. You might need to think outside the square or look at a new way of doing your traditional business if your mindset remains positive who knows where it might take you.
Top Coronavirus Tips for Landlords
· Know what your agency is doing with important tasks such as: paying you rent, rent arrears, routine inspections, and leasing.
· Know your options if a tenant pleas hardship.
· Check your landlord’s insurance or sign up for one – essential advice in the current climate.
· Understand what hardship options you have in terms of Government support if your tenant stops paying rent.
· Know what your bank or lending institution is willing to offer in terms of financial relief.
· Communicate your circumstances with your agency and have any instructions put in writing.
· Act with kindness and understanding at all times, it is an unknown circumstance and we are all navigating the waters together for the first time.
Top Coronavirus Tips for Tenants
· If you are feeling unwell or have Coronavirus like symptoms and your property manager is still inspecting your property let them know in advance.
· Communicate any changes to your circumstances immediately with your property manager, especially the loss of a job. They can help you with solutions and advice on how to obtain financial support so importantly you can keep a roof over your head.
· If you are casually or part-time employed or face the loss of employment as a result of the coronavirus’s impact, Centrelink has payment options available.
· Limit maintenance requests to URGENT or EMERGENCY only. All non-urgent maintenance can be tended to once things settle down.
· Renew your lease for an extended-term where possible until things settle down and return to normal.
Top Tips Coronavirus Tips for Everyone
· Wash hands frequently, have hand sanitiser if possible
· Stay away from work or others if feeling unwell
· Make sure office, homework stations are cleaned more frequently
· Ensure you have everything in order for a work from home situation, like the internet, computer, phone access, passwords to relevant software, printer, and other stationery supplies like envelopes, paper, stamps
· Seek financial assistance early if needed:
· Stick to your routine as much as possible, keep up your exercise, eat well and rest
· Are there opportunities for personal growth, online courses, new business ideas to flourish, or can you simply help your community through the crisis in some way
Where there is a problem there is also a solution, don’t be paralysed by fear, in tough times we also experience the most growth. You’re not alone, the only certainty everyone globally is in the same predicament.