Businesses across the globe have had to bear the brunt of COVID 19’s rapid growth and the failure of the global community to prevent its spread across continents. The disease that started in Wuhan, China has now got volatile centers across different parts of the world– from East Asia to the Middle East to Western Europe, and every nation’s economy is on the line.
Some obvious sectors to be affected are travel, hospitality, and aviation as people have put travel and sightseeing plans on hold in fear of being affected by the infamous virus. However, there are other industries also which have had to bear the impact in an indirect manner.
Co-living is an industry founded on the urgent need for housing that is affordable and comfortable, targeted primarily towards the millennial generation. It was observed in 2019 that the industry has been growing 20% year-on-year.
This shows that while the co-living industry is in its infancy since the demand has come up recently and the suppliers are attempting to catch up, it has great potential for growth. This is reflected by the fact that there aren’t many strong contenders in the industry yet, and most are only expanding domestically at the moment.
In an industry that has just come up, the impact of the global phenomenon is bound to be profound. Businesses can either sink indefinitely or become the industry authority at the end, but it is crucial to prepare effectively to arrive at the favorable side of the argument.
Co-living businesses, furthermore, cater to a young target market- one that is going to live through the spread of coronavirus, and then have important stories to tell which will serve as a template for analyzing history. To win this audience over is the ultimate mantra to keep your business from receiving the worst of the coronavirus outbreak.
‘Cleanliness is close to Godliness’ couldn’t be more accurate as our global community fights this deadly virus that is steadily taking over all parts of the world. Make it a point to wash and clean spaces across your property thoroughly. Remember to disinfect and provide biodegradable one-time-use covers for all handles, doors, and appliances which the community uses collectively.
Ensure that the housekeeping staff pays extra attention to cleaning doorknobs, wardrobe handles, window clasps, and all other places which people touch often with their hands. Have them wash and clean the curtains, couch covers, table cloths, and other such fabrics in public spaces within your facility.
Then share the measures you have taken to sterilize all spaces with your clients so they can have confidence in you, and share them on social media channels to illustrate how your business is taking all possible measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus within its facilities.
Depending on the scale of your business, you might have a dozen employees or over a hundred. Regardless of the size of your company, the first step towards combating the issue is to reach out to those who help run your business. This can be easy if you are a lean team, or cumbersome if you are an expansive player of the industry.
The staff that runs your business should be well aware of what COVID 19 means, how it came to be, and should be up to date with what is its impact on lives across the world. They must understand how to keep themselves safe and how to limit the spread of the disease on a personal level.
It is only when you and your entire team can expect to be composed and enable your customers to stay calm as well. After all, you are in a business that is heavily client-facing.
Every co-living business is aware that its survival is based on building a strong community. That is the very reason that co-living is often dubbed community living in several parts of the world. This should be the main objective of an entrepreneur of the co-living sector to not only make losses minimal at this time but also improve the core features of their business.
To show your appreciation and how much you care about their well-being, you may provide occupants with a small care-kit with COVID 19 masks, and a proper manual or pamphlet about the disease from local health authorities.
If someone is not feeling well then encourage them to seek medical help at the earliest. Seek feedback from tenants, organize community events online, and avoid organizing any marketing events which would allow outsiders to come into the facilities. Lastly, invest in a video manual that you can forward to all clients- current and prospective.
Remember that the community should feel like they belong together, and if you can convince your clients that you care about them, then there is no way they are leaving your business.
Once your staff is prepared and well informed, dealing with tenants becomes much easier. With the immense reach of social media channels that is unparalleled across any other time in history, panic can set in at any minute. People can be incredibly fearful, and that is never good for business. Allow your community managers to interact with tenants to assure them of their safety.
The only way to keep people from freaking out is to show them facts; rely on news from credible sources and deliver information impactfully to make them understand that while coronavirus is spreading quickly, it has its limitations in terms of who it can reach owing to geography.
Deliver reports, health guidelines, and precautions to the occupants of your coliving business via text and email, and hang posters for the same in common areas. Engage with those who are really scared to show them facts. Make sure an atmosphere of trust and serenity continues, because nothing impacts the business as panic does.
While you ensure all measures are taken to keep your facility virus-free, those who come from the outside are more likely to be carriers of the disease. This is why all visitors should be screened for symptoms of COVID 19.
Screen the delivery executives who come to deliver food or other parcels. Insist that your tenants keep track of who might be visiting the facility on a given day and make sure to get the names and contact details of all visitors.
Your staff that does not reside on the property and commutes every day should also be encouraged to stay vigilant about their health so they do not bring in any pathogens unknowingly. If need be, screen them as well to make sure they are also fit.
The world has seen many diseases spread panic like wildfire amidst people, but has lived through all of it. Coronavirus, while a novel and lethal disease, is yet another challenge that will be conquered in time.
In the meantime, it is everyone’s responsibility to help maintain stability and prevent COVID 19 from spreading. Businesses catering to all aspects of the hospitality industry, including co-living, are already getting affected but there is no way of knowing what the true impact is so early on.
The most important steps to take are to be cautious about one’s own health and others, including that of one’s clients. Issues like these test our humanity as well as the strength of our business; it is crucial to strike the right balance and be available for those you need and those who need you, while also keeping the entrepreneurial spirit alive to see the end of the storm.