The following insights have been shared by Williams Johnson Mota, CEO and founder of B-Hive Living
The biggest challenge for us has been responding fast changing government directives and quickly implementing new contingency measures accordingly. In particular, in the UK, we’ve now a new directive which obliges an entire community or household to go into isolation should one member of the community is suspected of having the symptoms. This has been a major concern so we’ve placed a huge amount of emphasis on education and prevention.
We’re blessed that we’ve no cases yet. But, we were contacted by former member who left about three weeks ago who has tested positive. As you can imagined, we panicked thinking that there were more people infected and we were concerned that we would have to ask that entire community to isolate. Luckily, no one else developed the symptoms and the timeframe was long enough not to trigger a full lockdown of the community. Really stressful.
Since we’re following very closely the situation in Italy, we started to preempt the government measures and act well in advance. See below a few of the measures. The Health & Safety Ambassadors have been great to get more in-depth of understanding of how the community is living the situation and responding accordingly.
We already deliver weekly wellness tips to our residents on six pillars of wellness. Here is what we’ve done on top of that:
Practicing social distancing has been the key. We mainly seek to work remotely and interact with residents via phone and video. But we continue to attend the sites but we are strategic about when we do so.
We’re blessed to have no cases but we’ve already created protocols for such situations. The government has very specific guidelines for how we have to handle this. For instance, we’d need to provide a separate bin and dispose the rubbish of this person separately. We also need to support the person with groceries.
The UK has gone into full lockdown today so we expect this to happen. We’ve an insurance that each of our residents pay upon coming to live with us which will cover a few months. But we are still establishing whether they will cover this situation. Also, the person would need to leave the community and we want to try to avoid giving notice to residents at such a time. To deal with that, we may decide to negotiate a rent holiday period but its not easy. If you offer one person we’ve got to offer all and the business cannot sustain that.
We think that its important to use various channels. We’ve produced posters, used emails for our bi-weekly update emails as well as WhatsApp groups and the community platforms. Calls with the H&S Ambassadors.
No, so far our residents have been cooperative. Having the ambassadors collecting data and pushing some key messages has been key.
We’ve a new property being launched soon and our queries are very low. We believe that many people are scared about living in a shared living space right now. So I think we need the whole industry to unite and tell the story how living in community can be beneficial in such times.
From a business model, we’ve been surprised how resilient our business model has been so far. But, as mentioned, we have less demand right now so we’re considering offer entire spaces to a corporate client or medical staff of hospitals. From marketing, we’ve changed our ads to include info on how we’re dealing with this situation and we may start to use virtual tours of the property.
Thank you Williams for answering those questions.
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