Issue - July/August 2021
THE CHALLENGE OF CHANGE, A COMMUNITY TRANSFORMED
Staying Afloat through Diversified Business Lines
By Liam J. Willmott, Managing Director, WillMove
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many things have changed in our industry and worldwide. Companies in Spain have had to adapt to long months of lockdown and not being able to operate due to government restrictions. In removals, these months were extremely tough as the company was not able to generate income from its main activity, and the government kept adding pressure taxwise and gave no financial support to companies who could not operate due to the lockdown.
Lockdown stopped removals and forced all of us to start working from home, something inconceivable in Spain where there were no regulations or special contracts for people working from home. Changes like these tend to be difficult to manage, but as we already had cloud-based software, ERP and everything digitalized, working from home was just like being at the office in the comfort of your own home.
WillMove is also a freight forwarder. We were able to survive as we shifted most of our staff from the removals department to general cargo during the lockdown period, keeping a minimum skeleton structure in removals to start booking jobs for when the world reopened, and guiding the clients we had in transit or scheduled for months in which we were uncertain if we could operate or not.
Everyone worked from home from March 13, 2020, to June 18, 2020. In order to restart operations from our head office in Madrid, we had to adapt all spaces for everyone to be able keep a two-meter distance with a methacrylate separation in between, disinfection spots where you would have to sanitize your hands, provide disinfecting products to each individual workstation, and even place signs on the floor for everyone to keep the two-meter distance when moving around the office and the different departments. Everyone returned on June 18, 2020 and started again with their usual tasks, but with an extremely reduced workload due to the financial recession and low sales due to uncertainty in the international scene.
These rough times have made WillMove adapt and change to keep operating and keep our staff healthy and busy. Some of our team has asked to stay working with cargo rather than removals, and this has been granted thanks to the growth the company had in the forwarding industry. Some have asked to work from home as they see that this has a positive impact in their lives and company´s development, while others have asked to work a couple days a week from home and the remaining days at the office. WillMove has reallocated many staff members to different departments and hired new talent to continue to grow exponentially in the near future.
Spain is currently vaccinating at a good pace, which is starting to reflect upon sales results and clients’ attitudes towards moving overseas. As countries start to reopen and the world´s population gets vaccinated, we expect the company´s sales to keep increasing throughout 2021 and hopefully reach pre-Covid levels by the first quarter of 2022. People have been locked in their homes for months, and have seen how important the memories and goods they have in their homes are to them. Now that people treasure more than ever the contents of their home and are searching for the perfect place to settle, it´s our turn to take this situation as an opportunity—always with borders and ocean freights allowing—so we can all grow and develop as companies. Once the whole world is back to normal, the overseas removals industry will have a grand boost.