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COVID-19 is forcing all of us to get creative on how to stay connected with each other during this global initiative to "flatten the curve".
Where I live in North Carolina, my family's favorite restaurant, like many others around the country, has scaled back menu options, lowered prices and setup an impressive assembly line of dedicated employees to prepare and deliver food curbside. Among other safety precautions, all employees undergo daily health screening before being allowed to work. This extra effort, along with the desire from loyal patrons to support their favorite establishments, will hopefully keep them in business during this odd time in our history.
Small businesses are the only ones getting creative.
Many traditionally face-to-face organizations such as not-for-profits, clubs, gyms, schools, and churches have completely gone online with virtual meetups in an effort to do their part in responsible social-distancing. My family's place of worship is completely online; streaming Sunday services with Facebook Live as well as weekly studies, classes and social meetups, all via Zoom meetings. Interestingly, attendance is up!
Multifamily in the Thick of COVID-19 Response
Multifamily operators have quite a different challenge - not because apartments are empty, but because they are full.With near-record occupancy in many markets around the country and residents under shelter-in-place orders, multifamily operators are squarely in the middle of the national COVID-19 response.
I can't reference any specific data on this statement, but there has likely never been a time in modern history where more residents were at home for more hours of the day, for such an elongated period, as there will be in the month of April 2020.
In a move to mitigate the health risks to residents and staff, most operators have closed rental offices, common spaces such as pools, fitness centers, even playgrounds; and are only responding to emergency maintenance requests.
These measures are essential as the threat of virus spread in multifamily communities is real. Several of our clients indicate residents are actively self-reporting their quarantining efforts to management staff. In an effort to help multifamily operators track this, our Product Team rushed out several new product enhancements to help.
Property Teams Get Creative
In all of this, there is creative awesomeness coming out of the multifamily community! Though rental offices are closed and maintenance teams are only handling emergency requests, residents still need attending to, leasing is still happening, and a broken garbage disposal isn't going to fix itself!
Here are a few great examples creativity and engagement that we've seen and heard over the past week:
- Leveraging Social Media to engage with residents and deliver light-hearted messages.
- Using Facetime or Google DUO for live virtual tours with prospects.
- Creative Maintenance Teams recording DIY how-to videos for residents.
- Going old-school and hitting the phones to check-in on residents and share an encouraging word.
- Delivering DIY maintenance supplies (filters, light-bulbs, plungers, tools, etc) to residents and then using web conferencing to walk them through the fix.
- Sending SMS and email confirmations to residents when they submit online service requests; also letting them know what your emergency maintenance guidelines are.
- And, my favorite. Hosting #SocialDistancing balcony workouts for residents!
These are just a few we've seen and there are a ton of creative folks who work in all aspects of multifamily working to stay connected with residents and deliver unparalleled service!
Keep Inspiring & Stay Safe!
Amid so much bad news in the media related to coronavirus, it is easy to get down. But these examples of creativity inspire me, and all us here at ServusConnect. They are terrific examples of the fortitude & ingenuity of the human spirit during very challenging times!
Thank you to all of the multifamily property teams all over the country, and folks behind the scenes who support them. Thank you for what you do. Thank you for your zeal for your work. Thank you for putting residents first. And please, please keep innovating!
Last but not least, thank you to all the healthcare professionals battling COVID-19. These people are a testament to human compassion and decency. Please keep them in your prayers daily!
On that, I'll leave you with Adam Sandler's new musical tribute to doctors and nurses called Quarantine Song. I hope it lifts your spirits as much as it did mine!
Please stay safe & be smart!
PS - If you have or know of other examples of the multifamily community being creative during these uncertain times, please share them with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or link to use on Twitter & LinkedIn at @ServusConnect - we'd love to re-share them!