Naturally, it is of paramount importance at this time for us to make decisions that safeguard the health and safety of our employees, our agents and you, our clients.
Importantly, we also need to find the appropriate balance between a responsible reaction that will mitigate personal risk whilst ensuring the continuity of our business operations and continuing to provide the service of real estate.
I would like to share with you some specific steps that we have implemented to help assuage the risk of COVID-19 across our 300 offices nationwide.
As a company we have set up a COVID-19 task team, which includes senior management, to continuously monitor the developments of the COVID-19 pandemic both locally and abroad.
Pam Golding Properties has, over time, invested in various technology and systems that enable both agents and support staff to work remotely. Furthermore, we have put in place various ‘business continuity’ plans that will ensure that each of our clients will continue to have the support and backing of the full Pam Golding Properties network and infrastructure - from marketing, area statistics and our comprehensive referral network.
In the event of face-to-face contact with our clients not being possible or advisable, we will utilize standard business appropriate tools such as Skype, Zoom or Facetime.
To ensure that we mitigate the risk of the pandemic and do everything in our power to ‘flatten the curve’, we will continue to keep abreast of developments and guidance as provided by the National Health Department as well as the World Health Organisation (WHO) by implementing the following business protocols:
- All Agents who fall within the high-risk category (having been in direct or indirect contact with a COVID-19 person, if they recently returned from or travelled abroad to high-risk countries themselves or been in contact with someone who has, older adults, people who have serious chronic illness such as heart disease, diabetes, chronic lung disease etc.) will self-isolate and operate remotely. This will include following up on leads, marketing the property etc.
- No client contact will take place from agents who fall within this high-risk category. Our comprehensive office network will ensure that all client interfacing requirements are handled by an appropriate and fully briefed substitute agent.
- Agents will practice standard safety precautions which include:
- Establishing from sellers if anyone on the premises is high-risk, if so, no property visits will take place until deemed safe to do so;
- No physical contact with sellers or prospective buyers (no hand shaking, hugging);
- Observe social distancing during appointments;
- Thorough sanitising before and after appointments of hands, keys etc.
- Rely on digital documentation where possible to avoid handling of any physical collateral or elements.
- Buyers will be requested to adhere with certain safety protocols (meeting at viewing houses, social distancing, sanitizing etc.)
- We are engaging with our suppliers to ensure continuity of supply.
With immediate effect, we as a company have made the decision to:
- Cease all international and domestic employee business travel. All personal travel has been discouraged.
- Cancel or postpone all our company events and conferences into the foreseeable future which involve a gathering of people.
- All employees who have travelled internationally or have been in contact directly or indirectly with someone who has travelled overseas have been mandated to a two week (14 day) self-quarantine where they will work remotely.
In closing, Pam Golding Properties will continue to monitor the spread of COVID-19 and update our risk areas, business guidelines and protocols to adapt to any changing developments.