Five tips for apartment managers during the uncertain times of COVID-19
Updated: Apr 18, 2020
We're several weeks into the beginning of the widespread economic disruption stemming from the COVID-19 outbreak, and by all indications, we'll be dealing with this crisis for quite some time. It's a nice idea to think that we'll be out of the worst of it in a week or two, but the reality is that this will be a long-term challenge without a convenient solution.
Make no mistake, COVID-19 is a true disaster. It is directly responsible for widespread loss of life, let alone the economic crisis it has caused. However, instead of spending more time wishing things were back to normal, it's wiser to focus on what to do in the current situation.
Apartment managers certainly aren't first responders, but their unique position as central points of contact and coordination for dozens or hundreds of people makes them an important part of the effort against the virus.
Multifamily managers will be, in many cases, near the front of the line in responding to the crisis and helping prevent panic. These professionals need all the help they can get right now, and so this article will share five tips on how best to respond to the ongoing challenges brought on by the new coronavirus.
1. Pay attention.
It's absolutely imperative that you carefully listen to up-to-date news on the virus, not only in terms of its symptoms and communicability, but also from your local authorities. You need to know immediately if new rules are coming out, whether for business activity, rent collection, evictions or otherwise. You should be checking the news, both local and national, at least two times a day, once in the morning and once at night.
2. Pin a post with your COVID-19 preventive measures.
Give your occupiers peace of mind via the Spaceflow app by telling them what you are actually doing to maintain a safe environment in your building. Let them know the details: information on maintenance, common area cleaning and of course, good advice on what the residents themselves should be doing to stay safe. Perhaps include a picture guide to good hand washing or sanitation measures in case they need to leave the property.
3. Stay connected.
Even while your community is collectively self-isolating, there are still plenty of ways to bring people together. Virtual events, such as happy hours, chats based on shared interests, or trivia games can be held easily via video conferencing tools like Zoom or Google Hangouts. Or maybe you'd rather be a little more passive. In that case, why not organise a daily challenge or activity, such as an exercise, puzzle or posted question for discussion?
4. Support your locals.
Numerous local businesses across the globe have been forced to close, but plenty of shops and restaurants have been able to migrate to an entirely pickup or delivery-based model. It's a good idea to follow which businesses are open in your area and which are closed, and share recommendations with your residents. You could even go a step further and work out a partnership with one or more local businesses for a building-wide discount code. This is a two-way street, as it keeps your residents engaged while supporting the local economy.
These next tips are primarily for managers who are already using Spaceflow in their communities. However, if you aren't on Spaceflow yet, you should still take the time to send out an email every couple days, reminding residents of everything you're doing in terms of safety and cleaning, and suggesting various in-home activities for people who are self-isolating.
5. Give your community a space to communicate.
It's important that you get the right messaging out to your residents, but they need to be able to contact you, and each other, as well. Using functionality like Spaceflow's newsfeed, your residents will have the chance to coordinate (perhaps there is an opportunity for them to optimize shopping visits, with residents taking turns as "designated shopper" and grabbing things everyone needs?) and keep each other company. If all your residents aren't already on Spaceflow, take the opportunity to send them invites through our “invite user” function in the admin zone.
One last thing on group communications: pay attention to them. If you see people starting to panic or spread misinformation, quickly get in there and politely provide the right information.
Battling through COVID-19 will require effort from everyone. For a lot of us, the most we can do will be to donate to vetted organizations, reshare authoritative, accurate information, avoid panicking, and self-isolate as much as possible. Some people, though, have a chance to do more. Apartment managers certainly aren't first responders, but their unique position as central points of contact and coordination for dozens or hundreds of people makes them an important part of the effort against the virus.
Are you managing commercial projects as well? Read our tips for office and mixed-use property managers here.
Check out more tips on how you can use Spaceflow and what to communicate to your occupiers amidst the COVID-19 outbreak here.
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