2020 drastically changed all areas of our lives and gave us a whole new perspective about planning ahead, staying healthy, and remaining agile in a changing landscape. For funeral homes, this shift happened quickly, and without much warning.
In handling the unique circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, funeral professionals have swiftly changed their operations to both comply with CDC guidelines, as well as state and local restrictions. As a result, funeral homes faced a whole new set of challenges.
LendingUSA recently conducted a survey with funeral professionals to understand their personal experience over the past year. We asked funeral professionals in our recent survey to share the major shifts they have seen in their business due to the pandemic. Funeral professionals ranked the following as some of their biggest challenges over the past year and entering into 2021:
Limitations on In-Person Gatherings
As the most frequently cited challenge in our survey responses, 88% of funeral professionals in our survey cited limitations on in-person gatherings as a challenge during the pandemic. The limitations required funeral homes to eliminate visitations before the service altogether in some cases. In other cases, funeral professionals have organized outdoor services in order to comply with gathering restrictions that have been set for their area.
Increased Use of Technology
2020 definitely has been a year where we started appreciating technology much more, and perhaps used tech a lot more than previous years. Many companies had to move most of their work from in-person to online, and the funeral homes were in the same boat. Seventy-seven percent of funeral professionals cited increased use of technology as a major shift in the past year. Funeral professionals had to learn to adapt to livestreaming technology to offer livestreaming services for friends and family who could not travel and gather in-person. Additionally, many professionals opted to meeting with families virtually, via platforms like Zoom.
Following Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Protocols
While adapting to a new environment to continue to provide their services, funeral homes had to ensure the safety of staff as outlined in the CDC guidelines. Sixty-two percent of funeral professionals cited this as a major shift—and it is not surprising. Not only have funeral professionals had to get used to their new protective work attire, but they have also had to ensure that they had all the supplies they need. In an economy that is already challenging due to pandemic, this has created challenges for some funeral homes who may have struggled to acquire the necessary PPE.
Delayed Cremations and Services
Some families have chosen to postpone the gathering and service of the loss of a loved one until the pandemic subsides, and 56% of the funeral professionals cited these delays as new challenge that have surfaced. As funeral services are being booked months in advance, funeral homes are struggling in the short-term with few full services, while potentially overbooking themselves in the future. This can create additional challenges for funeral homes with planning their staffing, finances, and quality of service.
Limitations on Staff to Follow Guidelines
Forty percent of our survey responders mentioned limitations of staff in the funeral home as a major shift for their business. In order to ensure that all of the CDC and the state safety guidelines are followed, funeral homes had to have fewer staff, yet still maintain the same quality of service. This puts additional physical and mental stress on funeral professionals in an already difficult situation.
Download the full eBook to learn how funeral professionals have adapted in the past year, as well as what changes lie ahead in 2021!