How To Maintain Social Distancing At Your Lettings Agency
In light of the coronavirus pandemic, maintaining social distancing is now absolutely imperative – regardless of the industry you work in.
However, within the property sphere, it is especially important to ensure that correct practice is followed, due to the largely client-facing nature of the role.
From showing potential renters around homes in-person to signing any required paperwork in the office itself, there are a number of changes your agency will need to consider when trying to keep employees safe from COVID-19.
Whether it be managing how employees or customers arrive in and out of the office, implementing changes to ensure safe desk work, or sourcing new ways to interact with customers, there are many areas you’ll need to think about.
Join us as we run through some of the best ways to ensure your agency not only maintains its social distancing measures effectively but also helps keep the deadly COVID-19 virus at bay.
- Wash Your Hands. Provide hand-washing facilities and hand sanitiser at all of your office entrances and exits. Also, make sure to wash your hands after any home viewings you take.
- Stagger Employees. To reduce everyone coming into the workplace at the same time, stagger your employees’ arrival and departure times.
- Take Care During Viewings. While it may be difficult to arrange flat viewings right now, if the property is empty then it should be OK for potential renters to see. However, during these viewings take the necessary steps to ensure both your agents’ and customers’ safety. De-sanitise any rooms they visit or handles they touch – from the living room to the garage – and ensure they’re kept as safe as possible for future viewings.
- Add Markings. Introduce a one-way flow system in and around your workplace. Provide floor markings and signage where appropriate to help your staff and visitors navigate it correctly.
- Regulate Traffic. If you have any particularly high-traffic areas of the office, such as corridors, lifts, turnstiles or walkways, manage their use to prevent congestion from occurring.
- Reposition Desks. In order to adhere to social distancing rules, reposition your desks to ensure your staff are at least two metres apart. If this isn’t possible, consider whether they’re required in the office or not and offer working from home as a potential alternative.
- Discourage Face-To-Face. Reposition desks so that your employees aren’t working face-to-face. Instead, encourage them to work side-by-side or in a way that faces away from one another.
- Use Screens. By adding a Perspex screen to each desk, you can help create a physical barrier between people – whether that be employees or customers coming in and out of the workplace.
- Meetings. Avoid holding in-person meetings if you can, and opt for a remote alternative instead. However, if you can’t avoid in-person meetings, then try to ensure social distancing measures during them, maintaining a two-metre separation between attendees. Also, host them either outdoors or in a well-ventilated room while providing a range of hand sanitising options.
- Stagger Breaks. To reduce the pressure on your break room, stagger your employee’s break times. Create other safe areas around the office for your staff to eat and encourage them to spend their break time outside if required as well, in order to keep them a safe distance apart.
- Safe Appointments Only. Enable customers to visit your agency on an appointment-only basis. Try to discourage in-person appointments where possible and, instead, prioritise conversations that could alternatively take place over the phone or via a remote means. If in-person appointments can’t be avoided though, try to minimise any contact between yourself and the customer. Also, provide your customer with clear guidance on your agency’s social distancing and hygiene procedures prior to arrival, encouraging them to use any signage and visual aids you have set up around the workplace.
- Limit Your Customers. Define how many customers you can realistically expect to home within your work while adhering to the two-metre social distancing guidelines and procedures you’ve set up in advance. Limit this number down to ‘one customer at a time’ if required.
- Suspend Unneeded Services. If you have any services that cannot currently be offered or undertaken without contravening social distancing guidelines, suspend them until the government’s guidelines tell you otherwise.
- Change Your Transactions. If you need to conduct any transactions in the office then consider using contactless payments only, rather than cash. However, if cash or pin-entry card payment is absolutely essential, make sure to wear gloves during handling. Also, use hand sanitiser and de-sanitise any equipment that could potentially harness any harmful viruses or bacteria on them.