One of the really great parts of my job as CEO of ServusConnect is traveling around the country, meeting with multifamily operators (executives & practitioners alike) and having discussions about their successes & challenges with maintenance operations.
Needless to say, we're not traveling any longer, but the week before the NBA suspended play and the NCAA conference tournaments were shut down, I was doing just this in New Jersey & Eastern Pennsylvania.
At the time of my trip, there were already several confirmed COVID-19 cases in NYC.
During a meeting in NJ (about 20 minutes outside the city) with an operations exec at an owner-operator for several thousand units in the region, it was mentioned that a maintenance employee had called into the corporate office earlier that day to ask the question:
"What if we're scared to come to work because of how close we might be to residents under quarantine for coronavirus?"
This was exactly the point where the weight of the COVID-19 outbreak and risk to health & safety of maintenance team members started to press on me.
Maintenance Teams Are First Responders
We believe maintenance team members are the lifeblood of apartment operations and the men and woman who's jobs we strive to improve with ServusConnect.
We also know that, often times, they are first responders at the properties they serve.
More than a few times we've seen resident feedback go through our system, specifically thanking a maintenance person by name when a resident, or a loved-one, needed assistance with something that had nothing to do with repairing something.
The greatest example of this happened last year, when a resident relayed a message to the management office letting them know a family member had passed away, but thanking the "maintenance man" for administering CPR a few days earlier while waiting for EMS to arrive, and, ultimately, for giving them more time to say goodbye.
These selfless acts and countless others have been and will continue to be carried out amid the COVID-19 outbreak by apartment maintenance professionals every single day in our country.
More Time at Home = More Things to Fix
Based on how COVID-19 continues to impact us all, apartment residents will be spending significantly more time at home over the next several weeks, maybe longer.
In fact, even if the general shutdown of the economy only lasts 3-4 weeks, there may not be a time in our history where so many people are at home all at the same time for such a prolonged period.
For apartment operators, this means more wear-n-tear, more things breaking; ultimately more service requests - putting our maintenance professionals right in the thick of it!
So, whether you're in the multifamily industry, live in an apartment, or just happened upon this post, please don't forget the men and woman who come and fix stuff when it breaks in our apartment homes.
If you employ, work with or know any of these individuals, provide them with a word of encouragement and please thank them for what they do - this goes a long way.
And if you are on the receiving side of their services and the response-time is a little longer than normal, please extend them some additional grace and understanding.
That sounds like good advice for all of us!
CEO's Note: our product team has been working overtime on several emergency product enhancements to specifically assist maintenance teams with both safety & awareness and increased volumes associated with COVID-19 outbreak. Click "Learn More" below to check out what we've been up to on our newly launched COVID-19 Resource page.