Covid-19 has been a part of our world for several months, and there’s no telling how long it will continue to impact everyday life. Even as things start to open up and inch closer towards “normal,” every industry has had to change the way they do business, and the moving industry is no different. Every business connected to moving has had to adapt, whether it be through financial help or through extra safety measures to keep staff and clients healthy without sacrificing quality service. Here are some of the measures that moving companies, whether short-haul or long distance movers, are taking to help fight Covid-19.
Social distancing goes by several names, and it refers to the act of keeping a certain distance from other people to prevent virus droplets from infecting someone. During this age of Covid-19, most health authorities suggest that a minimum of six feet is required to mitigate the risk of catching the virus from another person. Of course, if you live with someone, it’s essentially impossible to avoid being in close contact with them.
Moving companies are requesting that clients do not participate in the move itself. This means that instead of directing things while items are moving in and out of homes, they should isolate themselves to a certain quiet area of the home, or leave the premises. They can stay in contact with a mobile phone if the mover has questions.
Movers are also suggesting that clients have everything packed and prepared before moving day. If they are working on those tasks while the movers are there they can be in the way and there will no doubt be close contact. The fewer people that are in the home at one time, the easier it will be to keep up physical distancing to keep everyone safe.
It can be difficult for movers to stay 6 feet apart, since they may have to drive in the same truck. That means possibly having them use separate vehicles to get to worksites, and wearing masks at all times while on the job. They can also attempt to keep separated while working by coordinating when they enter and exit the building and the truck with items, and holding larger things on separate ends. There is almost no avoiding close contact altogether, but limiting those situations is crucial.
Moving companies have also implemented reforms that limit the number of contact points between movers and clients. In the past, movers would visit a home ahead of time to see how much work was needed and provide an estimate. These meetings would often end in a handshake. Now, movers can virtually determine quotes. The client will speak to the mover through a video communication tool, and then walk them around the home to give them a sense of the work to be done. Any paperwork can also be signed virtually so that there is no need to touch paper or pens that might be contaminated.
Moving companies must now be hyper-vigilant about their cleaning, sanitizing, and safety procedures to reduce the risk of infection and provide clients with the comfort and confidence they need. Trucks must be sanitized regularly, both before loading and after unloading. This includes long distance movers. Even though the virus will probably have died off by the time the load gets to its far away destination, it is still better safe than sorry. Workers wear masks and gloves, no matter what. They should also limit what bathrooms they can access in the home. By using just one small, designated bathroom, they can make sure to sanitize at the end of the day and the client doesn’t have to worry about the other ones in the home.
Financial and Strategic Impact
Even though moving is considered an essential service in every jurisdiction, the industry is not immune to the economic impacts the virus has had on society. Over the past few months, many people have cancelled or rescheduled moves, causing major damage to moving companies around the country. The moving industry is made up of more than just moving companies. It involves suppliers, storage companies, designers, and more, and pulls in a lot of revenue, but it could still lose billions of dollars. That means that the industry has had to pivot and change priorities on the go while the pandemic is wreaking havoc on the economy.
Strategically, some movers are taking advantage of small business loans and other relief programs offered through various levels of government. These are meant to keep businesses on their feet and paying their employees until things get back to a normal, or whatever the new normal will be.
Moving companies also have to worry about the mental and physical health of their workers. It can be stressful to enter into unknown homes and move another person’s belongings. They don’t really know if the homeowners have been infected, or if their belongings are contaminated. Moving companies should provide the necessary support to help them with the mental health issues that are bound to pop up. Not only that, but people are getting sick all over the county, and moving company staff are no exception. It’s vital that companies have backup plans in place in case certain workers are not able to get to a scheduled shift or have to miss a prolonged period of work.
Moves are also taking longer. With the extra precautions, moving workers are more isolated and therefore handling things on their own that they may have had help with previously. Plus, the client is often off-site, so things might have to be paused to get them on the phone to ask questions. They must prepare and plan for moves to take longer than usual and adjust their budgets and practices accordingly.
Where does the moving industry go from here? The future is unfortunately uncertain, but for now, they must make every effort to keep their heads above water and to keep their people and clients safe.