Coronavirus: The Key To Proactive Communication Without Creating Panic

Well, I’m sure you’ve all heard of the Coronavirus, or COVID-19, by now. And you’ve probably heard all of the stories of people stocking up on antibacterial gel, face masks and avoiding Corona beer like the plague. (That was fake news, by the way).

There are more occurrences of Coronavirus every day, so proper communication with residents and associates is important. But even more important is to avoid creating a sense of panic or overreaction. And it’s possible to encourage preparedness for potential disruption without spreading fear or panic to residents and associates by properly communicating.

It’s important to write with a direct and calm tone. Do not speculate or provide opinions. Write what you know and communicate with authority.

Communication with Employees
When communicating with your associates, be proactive. Review your company’s PTO and sick time policies and encourage all associates to stay home if they experience any cold or flu-like symptoms. Remind them of any policies for remote work, should they need to stay home for an extended period of time. Encourage them to stay home should schools close.

Now is a great time to explore various technologies available for video conferencing and other remote work solutions.

Communication with Residents
When communicating with residents, make sure to focus on what you know and what you are doing to prevent coronavirus in your community.

If you’re comfortable, communicate the cleaning schedule done by maintenance teams. Encourage your residents to carry Clorox wipes or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with them and to use it frequently. Tell them to wipe down public spaces such as a table at a restaurant or the surfaces in the airplane before taking their seat.

Share how you’ve prepared and informed your staff in order to prevent an occurrence of coronavirus in your community. Tell your residents that leasing and maintenance staff are encouraged to stay home if they are sick.

Also explain that the best way to prevent coronavirus is to follow the CDC’s best practices:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow the CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
    • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
    • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a healthcare facility).
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.

The spread of coronavirus should be monitored carefully, and proper and proactive communications with associates and residents can help protect our teams and communities without creating panic or sparking unnecessary overreactions.

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