How To Manage Common Areas And Shared Amenities In A Covid-19 Lockdown

June 26, 2020 0 comment

A lot of businesses and industries are directly affected by the global COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses need clients and customers. But these businesses can’t thrive if customer visits are discouraged and people are advised to stay in their homes. Local laws have enforced strict social distancing guidelines as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). According to them, reducing the instances of face to face contact is still the best way to reduce the spread of COVID-19[1]. The CDC maintains that COVID-19 spreads primarily among people who are within about 6 feet of each other for a prolonged period. Most people agree that social distancing rules are in place to keep people safe. However, they also make it extra challenging for those individuals whose job involves meeting with other people on a daily basis.

One such example of those individuals are property managers. Aside from having to meet with other people on a daily basis, they are also tasked to manage common areas and shared amenities. Not an easy feat with a pandemic going on and while strict social distancing rules in place. Even as the Covid-19 pandemic devastates the entire world, work does not simply stop for most property managers. Properties still have to be maintained, clients still need to be updated, and common areas and amenities still have to be managed.

Property Managers should regularly check the properties they manage in order to keep the facilities in working order and keep the residents happy and secure. But with an extra layer of challenge brought about by the strict social distancing protocols, how can property managers ensure that their common areas and amenities in their property are regularly checked and well maintained?

Keep an updated Business Continuity Plan that includes a well planned out Covid-19 response

One of the key things that every business must have is a business continuity plan[2]. This plan will make sure that a business has strategies in place to be able to operate during an unplanned disruption in service. One of the planned responses that property management companies must have is a Covid-19 response plan as part of their BCP. In this day and age, a pandemic response is now a critical part of any risk management and business continuity plan.

These plans should never stay static. States have ever-changing guidelines that evolve as each day of the pandemic passes. Your Covid-19 response should evolve with it. Always keep an ear out for state and local orders so that you can adjust your plan accordingly. Best practices in terms of sanitation and disinfection of common areas should now be a part of your standard procedures as opposed to being done on a special basis. Right now, sanitation of door handles, lobby/reception areas, elevator buttons, stair railings, and other common facilities should be standard practices.

Visual cues are also a big help for tenants. People have more success following visual cues than written reminders. Property managers should put up visible signs that inform tenants to avoid gathering in common areas. Helpful cues placed in areas where visitors commonly gather such as the lobby can be placed to prevent crowding at the reception desk or waiting areas. One good suggestion is to put floor stickers that are clearly visible and spaced far apart (following social distancing guidelines) for guests to stand on while they wait in line for their turn at the information desk or reception desk. Property managers can also place physical barriers or blocks as a visible cue for residents to show that areas are off-limits.

Keep your stakeholders updated with pertinent information

Always disseminate updated information to tenants, vendors, contractors etc. every time there are changes in the local guidelines. The CDC guidelines for social distancing have not changed. They still recommend avoiding social gatherings and for people to stay at least six feet apart. If your property has a pool, gym, clubhouse etc., residents will always want to use their access perks to these facilities. Property managers should communicate to their tenants the local guidelines and recommendations by the state regarding social distancing. This could be met by resistance by tenants as they will want to access these community perks but property managers should prioritize safety above everything else. Property managers should send out information packets and updates. Copies should also be posted in bulletin boards and online community boards. Let the tenants know that they can always ask their property managers for any clarification on which facilities are open for use and updates on state and local guidelines.

A good practice is to post-maintenance schedules on bulletin boards and information boards, so that residents can plan accordingly. Property manners should also have a regular schedule for sanitation and disinfection procedures and that information should also be disseminated to residents. AS a public service, property managers should always be open to a message, call, or even a video conference to answer questions and provide updates. This will help ease the mind of residents in these uncertain times. They will be happy to know that they are being taken care of and that their safety is of the utmost priority.

Here at Davis Property Management, the safety of our tenants and residents is our number one priority. We make sure that safety protocols are followed and that common area are sanitized and disinfected regularly. We also make sure that all common areas are well maintained and social distancing guidelines are strictly enacted. This can be tricky but we have a lot of help from the most trusted and reliable service providers we know.

Read our previous articles for tips and resources on how to get through the pandemic. Call us today at 425-658-7471 or email us at [email protected] to schedule a consultation with us and learn how we can help you navigate your property management needs and get through these trying times with confidence.

 

[1] Social Distancing, CDC

[2] Why Property Maintenance Should Be Part Of Your Business Continuity Plan, Davis Property Management 2020

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