Our Thoughts on the COVID-19 Outbreak
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is causing widespread concern and economic hardship for consumers, businesses, and communities across the globe. To help, we prepared guidance on COVID-19:
Most companies already have business continuity plans, but those may not fully address the fast-moving and unknown variables of an outbreak like COVID-19. Typical contingency plans don’t generally take into account the widespread quarantines, business, and community disruptions, and added travel restrictions of a global health emergency like this one.
We at VRM Mortgage Services are concerned about the spread of COVID-19 around the world. Naturally, our first concern is with the human toll this outbreak has taken and may yet take. We are particularly concerned for our employees and clients around the United States, some of whom live and work in the affected regions.
That said, we have robust business continuity programs in place that we can call on as needed to manage the situation in the safest, most effective way possible. As real estate asset managers, we also understand that our clients want to know what we think about this situation from an investment perspective.
For the past few weeks, VRM Mortgage Services has been closely monitoring the spread of COVID-19 throughout the United States and we have been following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and local health authorities to ensure we have the right plans and resources in place to safeguard your health and well-being. Here are some steps we are taking to ensure we are all being proactive with safety.
What are we doing:
- Enabling all operational teams to work remote on a limited basis prior to COVID-19 allowed the management team and IT to identify gaps and implement processes to meet BCP requirements. E-sign capability was given to all operational staff prior to COVID-19.
- Required testing of virtual or remote working prior to pandemic to confirm business continuity. Provided needed equipment to support a work home from setup similar to an in office setup. Tested business continuity on numerous occasions.
- Consistently striving to implement operational efficiencies and innovative technologies helps improve our ability to respond to the unexpected. Business continuity plans were launched and remote working was already supported – both were needed to properly respond to COVID19.
- Automation before COVID-19 hit. HR is endeavored to automate as much of its work as possible prior to COVID-19. (e.g., Ulitpro recruitment inclusive of requisition, application, onboarding were fully automated in 2016. We updated the recruiting platform in 2018 and we are updating the onboarding platform this year.) VRM started testing work from home in August 2019 as an organization. However, HR had been doing BCP testing with IT for several years prior to this pandemic to identify weaknesses in our organizational set-ups.
- Removed or restricted contract requirements such as in-person meetings, communication.
- We have reiterated and encouraged our vendors to comply with the guidance from the CDC. In addition, we have requested that vendors provide regular updates notifying us of any issues or service disruptions.
If you have any questions or would like to connect with one of our asset management experts, please don’t hesitate to contact us here.