Hit by coronavirus, domestic service agencies adjust their services
By Ma Ke
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, there were over 100,000 domestic workers in Beijing. Now, only 30,000 still have their jobs.
In order to survive the outbreak, some domestic service providers are exploring new business modes.
At Ainong Agency, one of Beijing's leading home service agencies, appointments for housekeeping and appliance maintenance have dropped immensely. The company has reassigned housekeepers and repair personnel to new services like home and office sterilization.
For indoor service industries, employee health is a big concern for clients. The Beijing government has provided an official WeChat account for home service workers to register their health condition, especially if they are under a 14-day quarantine.
Employees who have left the city need to report their body temperatures every day and the system will produce an electronic proof of health when they start working again.
Zhang Musen, general manager of Ainong, said the company provides free hotel rooms for employees who has family in Beijing to avoid risks of cross-contamination.
Other than temporary changes to deal with the epidemic, many home agencies are testing new services.
Certifies nutritionists and caretakers can share tips and basic knowledge on elderly and infant-care through social media platforms. Ainong agency gives an average of three live streams a day for employees or viewers outside the company.
Innovation is also seen in client-staff matching. For example, new moms can conduct video interviews with applicants for stay-at-home maternity care jobs.
Zhang said housekeeping orders are down by more than 50 percent since the outbreak, but demands like elderly home care and babysitting have proven to be life-savers.
He said elderly care will especially be a long-term direction for his company with the rising senior population in China's big cities.