6 questions about corona and student housing
Interview with Ingrid Gyllfors, CEO of Stockholms studentbostäder
How does the corona pandemic affect Stockholms studentbostäder?
– We are definitely affected, but fortunately, I would say that it affects us less than many other companies, even though we, like everyone else, feel the unease in society. What we notice is that some of our premises tenants are affected, so it affects our customers. We also know that many exchange students who are here through various exchange programs have returned home, which in turn affects our block tenants, ie universities and colleges. We know that our students are affected to varying degrees by the fact that extra jobs and such may disappear, but they are happy to still have their security from CSN, where the government has taken its responsibility.
What measures has Stockholms studentbostäder as a landlord taken to reduce the risk of infection spreading throughout the housing?
– We follow the recommendations of the Public Health Agency. When it comes to reducing the risk of contagion, we focus primarily on our corridor homes. Among other things, we have provided extra cleaning equipment and urge the students to keep extra clean and to be careful with hand hygiene. We encourage them to make schedules so that everyone is not in the communal kitchen at the same time, in some areas we have closed the gym and in others we have provided the gym and community rooms with extra cleaning products and cleaning equipment. We have just launched a new web that makes it easier to inform tenants in a better way.
Do you, as a student housing company, have to act differently than other landlords in this situation?
– What sets us apart from others is that, among other things, we have a communal form of housing and there the tenants themselves need to act to reduce the risk of transmission, and we can see that they have done so and we really want to thank them for that. We have continuous meetings with other student housing companies through our industry organization, Studentbostadsföretagen (SBF) and we all help to find good measures. We learn from each other.
How does Stockholms studentbostäder act if there is a confirmed spread of infection in a corridor residence?
– We will act on the basis of the recommendations of the public health organization’s recommendations and do what we can to minimize further dissemination.
How does Stockholms studentbostäder act as an employer?
– In order to protect the staff, we encourage tenants to only make emergency reports, and to call and e-mail us, and only visit our offices when it is really necessary. We have asked tenants to notify us if they are ill, so that our staff avoids getting infected if urgent fault reports need to be carried out. Our employees work with gloves and more caution. Everyone who has the opportunity for it works from home and those with symptoms do not go to work. To reduce the feeling of isolation, we have digital meetings and regular digital coffee meetings where we can all be seen. We encourage students to do the same.
How do you see the future?
– We work hard to keep pace with our maintenance and new construction projects where problems with material deliveries can cause delays. We focus and plan ahead and work in every way to ensure that the situation does not slow us down in our development of creating more and better adapted homes for students. Our employees do a fantastic job, both those who are on site and those who work from home.