Coronavirus Calls for Agile Adaptation
Self storage facility operations have to change, but it’s better to be proactive than reactive.
By Mark Wright, SSA Magazine
This is a sobering time for everyone, not least the businesses struggling to stay afloat amid COVID-19 precautions, restrictions and closings. The Self Storage Association has a simple message for all its members: We’ll get through this — together. Here are some tips and suggestions to consider whether you operate one facility or one-thousand.
The U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) offers extensive information about maintaining a clean work environment not only to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 but for year-round hygiene.
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) also maintains an online gateway to coronavirus information on its website
In addition, we encourage self storage facilities to:
- Regularly clean all surfaces that have been, or are likely to be, touched by anyone. Depending on what the surface is made of, it can host the virus for hours or days after contact.
- Use germ-killing cleaning solutions on door handles, counter tops, window latches, chair arms, staplers, every computer keyboard/mouse/touchpad, elevator buttons, cart/trolley handles and equipment lockdown chains — wherever and whatever people touch.
- Make hand sanitizer with 60–95% alcohol content liberally available in the office as well as next to elevators and in hallways.
- Keep sinks stocked with soap and paper towels for hand washing. Post reminders for patrons to wash their hands after each visit, and to use a paper towel to turn off faucets and open/close restroom doors. Keep restrooms clean and well maintained, including use of plastic waste basket bags (which should be tied closed and disposed of regularly).
Follow all federal, state and local government guidelines and restrictions, which have been announced to both keep you healthy and prevent you from infecting others. The White House issued new presidential guidelines on March 16 that you can find here.
Certain states have taken an even more aggressive approach to virus control. The National Governors Association maintains a web page showing all state actions, and the National Conference of State Legislatures offers an updated guide to state legislation targeting COVID-19.
During times of crisis, there’s some natural confusion about how to adjust your public messaging. But less marketing isn’t necessarily better. Current and prospective customers need to hear from you.
As marketing industry publication Ad Age opined in a March 18 post, “Marketing helps drive commerce. Marketers have an opportunity to give consumers a reason to spend—deals, products, services—even when we are bunkered up and hunkered down.”
For more information on how facilities are addressing everything from staffing to store hours to lien sales, you can read this survey the SSA conducted with various operators from around the country.
At times like these, it’s especially important to remember that you’re not just in the self storage business — you’re in the people-serving business. How your managers and other customer-facing staff behave and what they say has an impact on people. Panic is contagious. But so is its opposite. So, strive to be calm, rational and empathetic.
Rely on the SSA
If you have any questions about your facility operations or other news affecting you during this pandemic, stay tuned to the SSA website and social media channels for updates. You can also read more in this letter to our members from SSA President & CEO Tim Dietz on the latest developments with the Association and the industry; and as always, please don’t hesitate to contact us at email@example.com or 703-575-8000.