DOING ITS PART AND ADAPTING TO THE SITUATION AT HAND
Covid-19 struck the world with vigor in the spring of 2020. Many of us have had to adapt to this and think along new lines. We asked Stena Property's CEO Cecilia Fasth to look back on the last six months and tell us how the pandemic has affected the company.
HOW HAS COVID-19 AFFECTED STENA PROPERTY?
“When the first alarms came at the beginning of the year, the information was scanty and the guidelines few, ” says Cecilia Fasth, CEO at, Stena Property. “We discussed at the time, how we should deal with the pandemic if any of our customers or our staff were to contract the disease, and how we could best prevent the spread of covid-19. Rather soon, guidelines were issued by the Public Health Agency of Sweden that the country’s residents and businesses were to observe. Considerable responsibility was placed on the individual, such as staying home if we were feeling sick. In addition, the Public Health Agency recommended that those who could work from home should do so. At Stena Property, our office staff has worked partly at home, partly at the office. We have also separated staff into different groups to minimize any possible spread between coworkers.”
“Covid-19 also entails that many of the people in our 26,000 apartments have worked from home. Which has meant more people in the apartments and yards than before covid-19. Our custodial staff and administrators have therefore continued working on-site in our residential areas. However, to protect both our staff and our tenants, we have introduced new guidelines on how service visits to apartments are to be conducted. For example, we do not shake hands, we do not visit customers who have symptoms and we have delayed visits that are not of an emergency nature.”
MANY BUSINESSES HAVE BEEN HIT HARD ECONOMICALLY BY THE PANDEMIC. HOW HAS IT GONE FOR STENA PROPERTY?
“Although the majority of our business is residential, we also have commercial tenants renting office and retail properties. We noticed very early in the pandemic that some of our commercial tenants, such as restaurant owners, were losing many customers and could not afford to pay their rent. Together with the Swedish state, we went in and helped these tenants by way of rent reductions during the first difficult time. This entails that the company has lost revenue, but at the same time it has been important for us at Stena Property to be able to step in and support our tenants. We hope that in the long-term, they can stay in business, which is positive both for them and for us”.
“Most of our other tenants rent apartment from us. There we cannot yet see that covid-19 has affected the ability to pay in the same way as for our commercial tenants. It is also nice to see that sales of our newly produced condominiums in Stockholm have gone very well, despite the ongoing pandemic. So considering the situation, things have been going well for us at Stena Property.”
HOW HAVE YOU HAD TO MAKE CHANGES DUE TO COVID-19?
“Besides quickly adapting to working more at home, we can see that the digital maturity among our employees has improved. We had already begun a transition to new digital systems such as Office 365 and the use of apps such as Teams, but we see that the pandemic has accelerated the transition, simply because we have been forced to work more remotely.”
“We have also made major progress in tenant communication, including digitizing our contract signing with new customers – both for renting apartments and in the sale of condominiums. It’s clear that the entire society is more favorable to change and open to new ways of doing things. We can use this as an opportunity both to further develop interaction with our tenants and to improve our business operations.”
YOU ARE KNOWN FOR YOUR WORK WITH SOCIAL SUSTAINABILITY IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOODS. HOW HAS THAT BEEN AFFECTED?
“The home has never been more important than now and safety in the neighborhoods is our most important priority. When many other organizations that can usually offer summer jobs to young people, such as municipalities and restaurants, were unable to hire this summer, we saw that we could make a big difference. That’s why we made the decision to hire more summer workers than ever before in our residential areas. Nearly 360 young people worked with us this year, compared to about 300 last year. We should keep in mind that in day-to-day operations, our employee total at Stena Property is about 320.”
“We also saw that many organizations had to cut back on summer activities for young people because of the pandemic. So we mustered our forces to engage in local activities, tailored to the current situation, in our residential areas. All our employees, from custodial staff to economists, engaged in various types of activities in the neighborhoods. Which produced very nice results. We have had a calm and pleasant summer in our residential areas and received good feedback from our tenants and coworkers.”
|FACTS||Stena Property has approximately 26,000 rental apartments, and about 1,250 commercial properties in Sweden.|
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