We believe that emergency preparedness is a strength for us, and in fact, COVID-19 was an opportunity to prove this.
As the novel Coronavirus swept the nation and the world, every aspect of our lives rapidly changed. We knew it would be a matter of days before our managed Condominium and Apartment buildings would be looking to us for guidance, procedures, and proactive measures to address the virus’s mitigation in their communities. We faced a unique and unprecedented challenge exacerbated by a crunch in available time to act.
Our first course of action was to create an internal team within WRMC leadership devoted to developing procedures, plans, and recommendations to be rolled out to our Boards for approval while remaining a 24/7 resource for our onsite teams. The onsite teams were there for plan implementation while juggling the ever-changing conditions affecting the day-to-day operations.
With this vision and purpose, we created our WRMC Risk Team. The newly formed Risk Team is devoted to providing all managers with up-to-date communication and resources so they can, in turn, advise their team, homeowners, Boards, and vendors. We created Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for COVID through direct collaboration between our onsite teams and our Risk Team.
Multiple SOPs were born because of COVID, all of which contain specific details regarding the need for the various procedures, the key players’ responsibilities in managing them, and action items to be addressed.
In addition to the COVID SOP’s, the Risk Team set up weekly recurring phone meetings for all GMs to participate and collaborate directly with them on all things involved with the unique COVID challenges present in their buildings. These phone meetings produced terrific results in resolving pressing questions. They gave a real sense of teamwork and collaboration between all our GM’s.
We also created a specific email distribution group as a direct communication line to the Risk Team. This communication allowed any team member to promptly address concerns, suggestions, or requests regarding COVID procedures. We found that multiple communication mediums and predictable and recurring meetings afforded us a constant pulse on our buildings and the individual challenges they were facing.
In an interview with one of our GM’s, we gained more details into precisely what a specific building, Board, and the onsite staff were doing to keep business running smoothly while also being proactive about the current health and well-being of the community. Communication was the #1 action item, including providing the latest COVID updates from the CDC and County Health Officials, posting all updates in BuildingLink for residents to access, and maintaining an open communication line with the Board of Directors. Training continued, including extra safety classes for both team members and residents if they wished to attend. Increased safety and sanitization measures throughout the building included prioritizing high traffic areas such as the elevators and front desk. Face coverings were purchased for the entire team and required at all times. Residents were encouraged to wear masks and practice social distancing when interacting with the WRMC team.
COVID-specific products were recommended and acted upon, such as installing Kleenex stations at elevator landings, creating an Amenity Restriction Policy for COVID, providing new sanitation procedures for the pool and temperature checks, along with increased handwashing. With these further steps and resources in place, our onsite staff was able to keep our residents, homeowners, and vendors safe, informed, and happy. We believe we are poised now more than ever to handle unique situations in property management.