It's safe to say that COVID-19 has changed the property management game. And in response to growing health and safety challenges, property operations teams of every stripe are exploring new digital tools, systems, and procedures to protect residents and bolster operations both now and in a post-pandemic world.
Surely, if digital transformation was on the agenda before the pandemic, now it is a necessity. With that in mind, here are some ways property teams are using technologies to ensure resident safety and give staff an edge in the age of COVID-19.
A touchless experience
While “touchless technology” isn’t necessarily new, the pandemic has accelerated adoption. From automated doors to keyless entries (aka "fobs") and cashless payments to virtual communications, many property teams are racing to minimize fears by creating a truly touchless resident experience. On the staff side, there’s an increasing demand for automated systems, mobile technologies, and connected back-office systems. The challenge in all of this? Balancing "smart technology" interactions with human-centered service. Additional communication—via phone, text, or email—can help residents feel more connected to staff, even if in-person interactions are fewer.
The work-from-home (WFH) revolution has accelerated and likely not going away any time soon. For property management teams, this enables select employees to do their work remotely via cloud-based systems, mobile technologies, and other remote tools (e.g., teleconferences, team collaboration apps, etc.). Working from home isn't an option for all team members (e.g., maintenance), but teams are adopting the virtual/digital tools to ensure all stakeholders are connected and sharing information in real-time no matter where they're set up.
Smarter resource management
Heightened health and safety considerations means extra work for property management teams. Adhering to social distancing demands, for example, requires a more coordinated and advanced approach to scheduling, while following the recommended COVID-19 guidelines requires additional resources and retrofits. Here again, property teams are adopting property management platforms that can coordinate and track all the staff, vendors, and resources needed to stay on top of daily operations. In the post-pandemic age, these systems will be critical to avoiding miscommunications and avoiding crowded job sites.
It's more important than ever for property management teams to be connected in real-time. To that end, there is a push to enhance resident communication channels (e.g., websites, emails, social media, mobile apps) and ensure all property stakeholders have the information they need to perform their jobs safely and efficiently, whether they're on-site or working remotely. Moving forward, there will be little room for miscommunications and delays when it comes to performing tasks that keep residents feeling safe and secure.
Providing peace of mind
More than ever, residents want assurances that their requests are being addressed and their environment is safe and secure. Here's where property management teams are using real-time communication channels to provide that peace of mind, while also leaning on property management systems to coordinate tasks. More than ever, it’s not only important that staff does their jobs, but also that residents see them in action. While you may have previously taken pains for staff to clean amenities during off-hours, a firsthand glimpse of the steps being taken to keep residents safe will go a long way.
Property teams have not wavered in their focus on resident safety. Yet as health risks grow, many are adopting technologies that help their staff to work more efficiently, more collaboratively, and with the data they need to see the "big picture" both today and in the post-pandemic world ahead. Thinking strategically about your company’s needs will ensure you stay competitive.