With the introduction of COVID-19 vaccines, some normality is returning to the community and the business world. But, an internal Coronavirus Policy is still important for real estate brokers. Now is not the time to be complacent.
Here are 7 things your Coronavirus Policy should cover:
1. Cleaning and Sanitization Procedures
All areas of your offices, bathrooms, and common areas should be cleaned and disinfected frequently. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that cleaning once per day is usually enough if no people with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 are known to have been in the space.
Shared electronic equipment, such as printers, scanners, telephones, and coffee machines should also be routinely cleaned. Keep in mind that high-touch surfaces pose a higher risk. So you may choose to disinfect high-touch surfaces more regularly.
Your Coronavirus Policy should detail what deep cleaning will occur if one of your team is confirmed or suspected of having COVID-19. Follow the latest advice from the CDC to ensure you comply with federal government guidelines.
Staff should be encouraged to sanitize and wash their hands frequently. Signage and visual cues can be effective to remind them. Brokers need to ensure there are sufficient stocks of soap and sanitizer available.
2. Social Distancing
Brokers should include expectations for social distancing in your Coronavirus Policy. You may need to reconfigure workspaces or change work practices to make social distancing possible.
When deciding about social distancing measures for your brokerage, you might consider:
- Staggered work hours or a flexible roster, so that your team members are not all in the office at the same time
- Partitions or other physical barriers
- Using signage and floor markings to remind people about social distancing
- Limiting in-person meetings and travel
- Reviewing the customer journey and identifying ways to limit in-person contact wherever possible (e.g., virtual tours and walkthroughs, contactless key delivery, etc)
The CDC recommends mask-wearing for both unvaccinated and vaccinated people as a way of limiting the transmission of the virus. Include any expectations for mask-wearing in your Coronavirus Policy. Rules and guidelines for this may change, so check the CDC website for the latest information.
3. Remote Work Opportunities and Expectations
Allowing your team to work remotely is one way to help maintain social distancing. In your Coronavirus Policy, detail what options are available for remote working and any support you’ll provide to help your team do this effectively. Also, cover what you expect from your team — for example, if you require them to record their work times or send a daily check-in email.
4. Expectations When Staff Members Are Unwell
The days of staff going to work when sick are truly over. Be clear in your Coronavirus Policy that any staff member feeling unwell should not come to work. This is so important to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus.
State in your Policy what your team should do if they become unwell. For example, any COVID testing requirements.
5. Procedures to Follow If A Team Member Gets COVID
Detail what procedures you will follow if a team member gets COVID. This should cover:
- Cleaning and sanitization procedures
- Contact tracing
- COVID testing for your team
- Appropriate actions to limit the spread of the virus
- When your brokerage would/should close and under what circumstances
The CDC provides detailed information about what employers should do when responding to Coronavirus.
6. Staging Safe Property Inspections
Firstly, make sure in-person showings are lawful in your state. Using other tools first, such as virtual tours and walkthroughs, are a good option to limit in-person meetings to serious and pre-qualified buyers.
Many brokerages are limiting open showings at this time and offering property showings by appointment only.
You can find more resources about staging COVID-safe property inspections on the NAR website.
7. Vaccination Expectations
Your Coronavirus Policy might cover vaccination expectations for your staff. However, CRES recommends brokers obtain independent legal advice from a qualified attorney before including this in your Policy. Be sure to monitor updates from your local and state health authorities, as well as the CDC.
Don’t Forget To Protect Yourself
Quality insurance coverage is essential for busy brokers. Make sure you have adequate insurance to protect your brokerage against lawsuits.
CRES offers real estate E&O insurance packages and Business Owner’s Policies that can be customized to suit your particular business risks. CRES is part of one of the largest insurance brokers in the world, giving us access to insurance options that few other brokers have. That means the best protection at the best price for you.
All CRES policies also offer easy access to qualified attorneys who can provide you with legal advice 7 days a week.
Contact the CRES team at 800-880-2747 today.