It is a challenging time for the global market, where COVID-19 has impacted every level of the world economy. The Indian real estate and construction sector was no exception, from construction delays to customers wanting to hold-up payments for their under-construction apartments, and the uncertainty surrounding tenants’ ability to pay their bills. New projects are also coming to halt because the entire operational capital for the project gets funded by the advance payments made by the buyers.
And with most scientists thinking that there will be a second wave of the novel COVID-19, in the aftermath, we are expecting the industry to consider a world with coronavirus. It will learn how to adapt to a world controlled by social distancing, technology, and quarantines.
The Preventive Measures
In a transitional world, it is never too late to create a new responsive plan and a business continuity plan. To achieve that businesses should designate a team to create a responsive plan that will classify the impact of COVID-19 on the business. Identifying and determining the level of modification required for re-entry. For example, JLL has shared a corporate re-entry checklist to help transition through this evolving crisis, promoting social distancing and other preventive measures. The checklist included:
- Redesigning workspace to provide confidence to workers that it is safe to come back to work.
- Enabling remote working to continue
- With safety, health, and wellness remaining the priority, they created hygiene solutions for the full protection of the workforce.
- Reducing workplace density to maintain social distancing standards.
- Well-training and educating the cleaning staff
- Changing protocols to reduce gathering while enabling collaboration
- Providing new onsite facilities to reduce the need for staff to leave the working premises (Food and drinks)
- Training, educating, and preparing the workforce to return to work.
- Limit sharing of equipment
- Tracking and control measures using technology
- Providing mental health support
The business Continuity plan
The plan is to manage the wider business disruption. It involves thinking thoroughly about what could go wrong and developing strategies to address these disruptions and connected impacts. The strategies may include:
- Disruption to leadership: Create a senior management succession plan that clears out the roles, responsibilities, and decision-making authority in a business. Develop protocols for escalating urgent matters and for the key decision-making process.
- Disruption to the workforce: Make sure that the emergency contact for all of the employees is up to date. Consider the probability of any team member’s illness and how you have to report that to senior management. Ensure a safe worksite environment, through providing protective gear, sanitization of tools, and regular cleaning. Ensure that the employees continue to get paid.
- Disruption to IT: Ensure that the business IT infrastructure can support a higher volume of work from home arrangements.
- Disruption to operations: Consider the impact of a disruption in the supply of goods or services on the business.
The Disruptive Technology
The COVID-19 has only accelerated the need for pursuing digital strategies and the focus on tenant or customer experience for businesses. But regardless of what the new norm will bring, the technology that businesses will deploy to its infrastructure, will increase their ability to respond to change and bring stability along the process.
What are the different types of technologies that businesses can deploy?
Technology to stay connected
For real estate agents meeting and connecting with clients have been impacted massively by COVID-19. And it is uncertain how long this will last, but businesses need to maintain connectivity with clients and future homebuyers, to keep their business running smoothly. And for that social media will remain as the main platform for sales content sharing, and prospect outreach process.
Technology for prospect management
Real estate agents need an automated prospect management tool to manage their prospects, contacts, and customers efficiently. NeoDove is an intuitive prospect management tool, designed with a simple interface to make your job easier. You don’t have to be tech-savvy to navigate through the platform. With features including call monitoring and tracking, customizable and editable script templates, lead status, and automated call-back, the platform helps in accelerating the property selling process.
Technology for communication and collaboration
A conferencing tool enables online communication for audio and video meetings. And with built-in features such as screen sharing, meeting/call recording, and chat, these tools enhance collaboration among co-workers, reduce travel costs, enable long-distance business communication for client meetings, and it is considered as the best substitute for face-to-face interaction.
Technology for virtual staging
Social distancing has indeed cancelled many home tours, however, that doesn’t mean that agents can’t provide potential buyers with a similar experience digitally. With modern AR and VR solutions, property buyers can look around the property from their desktop screens or even mobile devices.
In the aftermath, many businesses will downsize their real estate costs and some will look to upgrade their workplaces. Social distancing will be thought of carefully, so some will divide the workforce between office staffers and work from home staffers, as workforce healthcare, safety and hygiene will be essential.
But most of the real estate players will invest heavily in digital sales and leasing, through creating Omni-channel strategies, more personalized sales ad and using virtual and augmented reality for house tours. This will help buyers find the right place for themselves more quickly and easily. But keep in mind that the more businesses adopt these digital services and products, the more the customer’s expectations will rise for responsive personalization. Players will need to provide a more differentiated experience to stay ahead of the curve. And these digital offerings will create a streaming revenue in the form of superior loyalty by end-users. The pandemic has created many challenges for many businesses and industries but it did not take away the ability to adapt and evolve.