We’re all keeping our eye on the news, watching the market, reading industry articles and attending webinars to get opinions from the experts, trying to make sense of what happens next.
Overall, we see some small glimmers of hope, with furloughed employees starting to return to work and the markets starting to rebound. But, we can all agree that even as we see this progress, things will be different as we look to the future.
No matter if your focus is residential or commercial property management, to be successful, it’s important to understand the impact COVID-19 has had on your tenants, their daily lives and the things that are most important to keeping them happy. Here are just a few of the topics we’ve been hearing.
ENHANCING HEALTH & SAFETY MEASURES FOR COMMERCIAL & OFFICE RE-OCCUPANCY
As distancing guidelines start to ease, sanitation procedures, PPE supply availability, screening and the overall ability for property management companies to ensure healthy and clean public spaces is key. We’re sure everyone has been working on plans for re-occupancy and how you will keep your tenants and their patrons safe, but have you taken the time to get feedback directly from your tenants? If you haven’t already, it may be good practice to conduct a survey or even better have real one on one conversations to get feedback on their biggest concerns to ensure they have the confidence in their safety to re-open as well.
REMOTE WORKFORCE OPTIONS
One trend we are seeing is a shift toward businesses giving employees the choice to work from home all or part of the time. Tech giants like Facebook, Google and Microsoft are just a few of the organizations leading the charge, offering employees the choice to work from home at least through the end of 2020. Perhaps even you are thinking of allowing a portion of your staff to continue to work from home.
This can be a good draw for recruiting and retaining employees, and it opens the talent pool beyond your local geographic region. Something to remember as you explore options, working from home can be a great match for some, but it’s not for everyone. Employees with long commutes or those with busy family lives tend to appreciate the efficiency of working from home but a lot of the younger, millennial generation tend to do better with the social aspect of office life at least part of the time. It’s important to keep everyone’s personal circumstances in mind while planning and rolling out a flexible work model.
GREATER ACCOMMODATION FOR RESIDENTS & COMMERCIAL TENANTS
Through all of the chaos, one thing that hasn’t changed for our customers is that attracting and retaining tenants remains a critical part of your business. Job or business stability and ability to make payments is most certainly at the forefront of your tenant’s minds. While we hope to see people going back to work soon, there will be a period of “catch up” while they may struggle to get back on their feet. One thing organizations are focusing on is making special accommodation for customers who are facing hardship. With programs like rent deferment, tenants can defer a portion of their monthly payment until a future date when they get back on their feet. Along with this comes a repayment plan to make the management company whole. And, property management technologies like Yardi have quickly responded, developing payment deferral technology allowing customers to manage directly within the system.
INCREASED USE OF MOBILE AND SELF-SERVICE TOOLS FOR RESIDENTS
Health and safety are certainly a top priority for your residents. In times like these especially, options that allow them to minimize contact while preventing disruption to their daily lives are certainly attractive. There are many tools that your property management systems, especially mobile and self-service tools for rent payment, maintenance and similar functions. Now is a great time to consider the options available to you, your staff and your residents.
In addition, the National Apartment Association (NAA) is turning directly to the residents for feedback and hosting a free webinar for June 11th where panelists will discuss how COVID-19 has impacted their daily lives and how renter expectations and preferences have changed in light of the pandemic. Visit the registration site for more information.