What an extraordinary start to the 2020 leap year with so many tragic events around the world. We have entered the year with bushfires smoke and pollution and thousands of hectares destroyed and now coronavirus which continues to impact the economy and our daily lives. It is hard not to feel overwhelmed by these events, but it is important that each one of us remains calm and focused on the positives.
We are all expected to remain committed to maintaining the service and care clients have come to expect from us. Keep in regular communication with clients and ensure they are well informed as to the progress of their transactions.
These times are difficult, and we should continue to act fairly and professionally with all parties in the transaction. At the end of the day we are all trying to achieve the same result – a successful settlement and a happy client.
We are fortunate that conveyancing transactions are completed electronically, enabling our businesses to operate remotely. If you are proposing to allow your employee to have a “work from home arrangement”, then do consider all risks. Confirm your expectations in writing with your employee. Ensure that your insurance covers you and your employee. Ensure the employee’s home workplace meets OH & S standards. Consider how you will handle, manage and process your client’s personal information in compliance with The Privacy Act. Ensure that all technology and tools which are to be used from the home base have suitable cyber security.
You remain responsible for all events associated with a “work from home arrangement”. Avoid a Claim.
Your employee would be working with limited social interaction so consider keeping in regular daily contact with them.
It may be time to revisit your business plan and set new goals. Factor in all business costs to determine how much income your business needs on a weekly/monthly basis to survive these rough times. Look at your pricing structure and ascertain how many actual settlements you must achieve to reach your goal.
Don’t make the mistake of undervaluing your worth. Charge appropriately and make each transaction worth your while. Don’t be concerned with what your competitor is doing but do concentrate on what you offer and charge accordingly.
If you are struggling and unable to retain your staff, then ensure you terminate their employment in accord with the appropriate Legislation. Avoid action being taken against you for unfair dismissal.
To all of you, take care and look after each other.
Here are links which may be useful during this period:
Department of Health – https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus
Putting off employees in hard times – https://www.fwc.gov.au/about-us/legislation-regulations/small-business-fair-dismissal-code
AIC Vic President