Handling the ongoing challenges of COVID-19 in our communities is requiring innovative thinking, advanced planning, flexible procedures and, of course, the ever-diligent efforts of our hard-working staff and managers.
One area to look at more closely, and one I find especially important, is the idea of managing contactless work orders. Complying with executive orders from state governors can prove difficult, but not impossible, as long as you are willing to develop a system that includes the concepts outlined: being innovative and flexible, planning and involving your teams in developing solutions.
So how does this idea of contactless work orders actually work?
There are several key aspects to review. Hopefully with a robust property website, your residents should be able to submit work orders already using their resident portals. The old-fashioned method of taking work orders over the phone certainly comes into play here as well since face-to-face contact is what we are trying to avoid.
Depending on restrictions, it may only be possible for your team to manage “emergency” work during certain times. Therefore, you need to develop a thorough log system to record and prioritize, leaving less urgent work orders for when it becomes safer to handle them in person.
If staff are going to enter a resident’s home, it is important to get authorization to do so when the resident is not at home. If that is not possible, the best idea is to schedule an appointment when the maintenance team can be safety protected through appropriate equipment and the resident is in a separate location from where the work is being performed. When the team member enters a unit, it is critical they are well protected and avoid or limit contact with the resident.
Keep in mind that vendors like plumbers or exterminators may need to also continue serving your communities, and it is important to discover and understand the protocols they are using for keeping both your residents and their own staff safe.
If pets are involved, advise the staff completing the order in advance, and if the resident is not home, they need to ensure that the pet is behind closed doors in a location separate from the requested work order.
As the year unfolds, there will continue to be plenty of issues to solve. For example, managing the completion of the backlog of work orders that had to be delayed. At the same time, this is a perfect time to develop the procedures, protocols and systems to help make your communities successful with things like contactless work orders, rent payments, applications, lease and renewal signings through online portals and drop boxes.
If you are looking for further insight, our professional office team is available by phone, email, appointment, or virtually only at this time.