When I imagined writing my welcome message for the latest edition of our partner newsletter, it certainly wasn’t with the thought that I’d be writing it from my home office. Terminologies such as social distancing, doomscrolling, blue skype thinking and coronacoaster were almost unheard of before Covid-19 spread its tentacles beyond the province of Wuhan so quickly. The investors of Teams, Zoom, House Party and other virtual meeting apps must be overwhelmed with the new take up.

 

Will this pandemic create a “new normal” once restrictions around the world are lifted? Will there be new ways of providing the wide range of services we offer our customers? If so, what will they look like and how will they be implemented? How can we help our customers adapt and ensure that they implement methods of continued work collaboration in a safe environment?

 

At Crown, we’ve been working hard to track the progress of Covid-19, using a predictive model, in all of the territories where our customers need us. We’re now preparing for what we hope will be some form of normality. We’ve continued to challenge ourselves during these difficult times and I wanted to give you an update on some of the activities we’ve been working on to ensure a positive future for both Crown and our partner network.

 

From the intensive research undertaken by our Insight team, we’re learning that the intent of our Mobility and Relocation clients and customers remains. Although a small percentage of customers may have had their confidence in relocating to other countries dented, the vast majority see the pandemic as a pause, rather than a cancellation to their plans. Some have indicated that it may change what services they need and how they should be delivered. The good news is a very high percentage of our customers are still planning to relocate and we have higher numbers of visas waiting to be processed than in previous years.

 

We see a return being sparked in the Far East and are tracking customer intent there for services that can be delivered now. In the EMEA region, we’re anticipating that planned activity for May is deferred until July. In the Americas, we see governing authorities keen to get their economies up and running again, but it is important to us that this is done in as safe a manner as possible for our employees and partners. The application of Personal Protective Equipment will be key to this effort.

 

The virtual delivery of mobility services is something we have focused on; our Global Skills team has been able to provide much intercultural and language training in this way. Some of our destination services have either been delivered or prepared in a virtual environment, and our development of virtual consultations has supported a “business as usual” approach to the household goods moving sales effort.

 

  • Crown Records Management has had to adapt to new volumes of activity that support the recent surge in home working. Information that would have gone to a city center office is now being delivered to residential suburbia. Particular support has been provided to government health authorities, whose need for stored medical records has spiked.

 

  • Crown Workspace is active in supporting clients with re-organizing work environments in preparation for a return of employees. Return to work guidelines have been developed. Re-configurating work spaces, planning one-way office routes, ensuring sufficient space between used desks as well as staggered working hours have been a feature of the advice we are able to provide to our clients.

 

  • Although Crown Fine Art has seen demand evaporate following the closure of museums, art galleries and auction houses, our staff there have turned their hand to supporting our Workspace brand. It’s also good to know that self-confinement is leading to an expected surge in new works of art that will come into the market once we see a re-opening of public spaces.

 

It would be great to hear your news; we know that many of our partners have been working on new solutions and we’d be delighted to hear more about them. Just use the link at the foot of this email or drop me a note at stuartlawson@crownww.com. In the coming days we’ll be issuing our Safety Guidelines; it is imperative that partners adhere to these as much as they possibly can as we demonstrate our care to concerned customers.

 

Change, forced or otherwise, doesn’t have to be bad. Under these exceptional times, I’ve seen a re-adjustment in what’s important to us as societies, businesses and, most importantly, families. I, for one, hope that it is an enduring change and that we continue to value the efforts of those that have worked tirelessly to minimize the impacts of the pandemic.

 

I hope you can join us in readiness for a return to the volumes of business that we have offered in the past to our clients and customers who, we know, have valued our regular guidance. Although these are tough times, we are a resilient business, and we aim to be stronger tomorrow.

 

In the meantime, we’ve picked a few articles to give you a flavor of what’s been going on at Crown since you last heard from us!

 

Stay safe and well.

 

Stuart Lawson

Global Alliance Manager