Realogy, the nation’s largest real estate holding company, announced Tuesday it’s altering three large company gatherings in the next month amid concerns over the spread of novel coronavirus. Other companies in the industry are also taking extra precautions with employee travel and meetings.
“The health and safety of our employees and the agents, franchisees and clients we serve are always our top priorities,” a spokesperson for Realogy said in a statement. “Realogy is actively monitoring the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19), and while in most of our offices around the world it is business as usual, we have taken some preventative measures per guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as other government entities, globally.”
“In an abundance of caution, Realogy has asked that all employees stop international business and nonessential domestic air travel at this time,” the spokesperson added. “While we truly value networking and face-to-face communications in our business, we are also turning large scheduled March meetings into virtual events where possible. We will update our guidance as the situation evolves.”
Realogy is also looking to make three upcoming events virtual, if possible: an ERA Real Estate event in Nashville at the end of the month, a Coldwell Banker Commercial event starting this weekend in Austin and the Cartus Broker Conference in South Florida in mid-March.
Realogy isn’t the only company taking extra precautions. A spokesperson for Compass told Inman the company is monitoring CDC and World Health Organization guidance and issued internal guidelines around company travel. Compass is also encouraging employees to work from home if they are sick or are high-risk and encouraging video chats in lieu of in-person meetings, where possible.
RE/MAX sent a memo to employees to remind them to wash their hands regularly and drink plenty of fluids. The memo also encouraged employees to stay home if they feel sick or need to take care of a sick family member, or to work remotely if they feel well enough to work from home.
Employees at RE/MAX are also encouraged to speak with managers if they’re uncomfortable traveling for work and are encouraged to hold video meetings if available.
Zillow is taking similar precautions as well.
“The safety and well-being of our employees, customers and partners across the country is our highest priority, and we are closely monitoring the guidance of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and local health authorities,” Viet Shelton, a spokesperson for Zillow, said in a statement. “In light of COVID-19 concerns, we have suspended non-essential business travel and are encouraging virtual meetings and interviews. This is an evolving situation and we will respond accordingly to new developments.”
A spokesperson for Keller Williams told Inman that the company’s top priority is the safety of its employees and it’s monitoring the situation closely. The real estate franchisor, which is headquartered in Austin, is also discussing whether or not to participate in the local South by Southwest festival, which takes place in Austin.
A spokesperson for the National Association of Realtors also told Inman the group is monitoring the situation and will keep members informed of changes.
The 1.4 million-member association has several events scheduled over the next few months, including its AE Institute March 13-16 in San Diego, California; its Realtor Broker Summit March 31-April 1 in Hollywood, California; and its midyear conference, the Realtors Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo, May 11-16 in Washington D.C.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated with a comment from NAR.