Managing Package Deliveries During the Holiday Season
The necessity of managing package deliveries
Over the course of the past decade, managing package deliveries has become a necessary part of condo corporation management due to the increasing popularity of online shopping for everything from clothes to groceries and holiday gifts. Buying virtual is accessible, convenient, and fast, and has only become more so in the last few years as retailers big and small move online. After placing an order online, residents keep a watchful eye and track their packages along the way. Still, since they live in a condo corporation, they depend on the concierge and property manager to keep their package safe until it can be picked up at the front desk with minimal effort.
In Deloitte’s 2021 holiday retail outlook where more than 1,000 Canadians were surveyed, 62% of respondents said Amazon would be their top shopping destination this holiday season. While shopping at brick-and-mortar stores will increase over last year, online shopping will still be a consumers first choice. That means there will be a higher-than-normal volume of packages accepted at front desk. This might cause more pressure for the concierge as they need to manage all the packages for quick and easy pick-up while continuing to conduct other day-to-day tasks.
1. Storage needs have changed.
It is important to recognize that a small locker room in a condo is no longer sufficient for the number of package deliveries brought in every day. "The space set aside is not often large enough," says Andrew McLachlan, regional director at FirstService Residential. "The area needed to accommodate them needs to be close to the front desk, as concierge will not want to abandon their station to obtain packages for residents continuously."
2. COVID-19 is still a risk factor.
While things have improved since last year, COVID-19 continues to be a risk factor, and this increases immensely with the holiday season. Delivery interactions don't start with the pick-up of packages from front desk by residents, many package carriers come into the building every day with deliveries, which involves an increased number of interactions with several different people.
3. Constant interactions with residents may lead to burnout.
Along with being on the front lines already, concierges interactions with with residents greatly increase at this time of year when they are asked to obtain a package, or in some cases, multiple packages. This can be an overwhelming process, especially when managing crowd control and pick-up times, much to the resident's frustration. This causes much stress for the concierge and ultimately leads to burnout, where they may not work as efficiently as before.
Here’s a look at how FirstService Residential is taking the necessary precautions throughout the holidays to keep concierge, residents, and property manager safe.
1. Making room for the package deliveries.
As mentioned, package deliveries are coming in at an increased volume, with piles of them coming to the concierge desk every day. Our solution is to dedicate locker rooms for these packages or, if available, a large storage room to provide ample space for concierges to move around.
Additionally, we are having the concierge write out essential details as a delivery comes in to make pick-up more efficient as they will not have to scramble through numerous packages to find the right one.
Concierges can log these details as soon as they come in and throughout the pick-up process. Helpful details include the date, the carrier, the recipient's name, the package placement, the time picked up, and a signature from the concierge signaling the package has been picked up.
2. Maintaining the right COVID-19 protocols.
There are many areas of the delivery process that were changed last year to suit the times, but here we dive into the distancing protocols that are worthy maintaining throughout the holiday season.
Keeping plexiglass to separate concierges and others.
Minimizing contact with residents and carriers is essential during this time since there will be a lot of face-to-face interaction. For this reason, we recommend you keep the plexiglass installed to separate the concierge and protect them throughout this process, with drop-off or pick-up occurring on the side of the lobby's front desk.
Protect your front desk workers with a condo mask mandate.
When picking up packages, residents should be wearing a mask covering their nose and mouth since there may be a small amount of face-to-face contact when dropping the package off on the side.
Keep distancing stickers on the floor.
Placing designated stickers on the floor spread six feet away from each other encourages social distancing for residents. This also prevents residents from crowding around each other as they wait to pick up their packages. Now is a great time to replace any distance stickers that have been damaged over the last year.
Consider the elevator capacity.
Residents should be encouraged to avoid entering elevators in groups of more than two people, especially if they have large deliveries. This mandate has already been put in place in all condos, but it should be a constant reminder to avoid a packed elevator. Residents should wait for the next elevator if the other ones are full.
3. Streamline the pick-up process.
To ensure that residents know what time pick-ups are allowed during the day, establish hours where this will be made possible. Our property managers can determine these times and have them posted throughout the condo corporation and emailed to the residents for notice. As an example, property managers can notify residents that hours of pick-up are between the hours of 8 AM and 9 PM.
Further, we have provided time slots for residents to come to pick their delivery from the front desk. Emailing or texting residents with their specific time slot for pick-up makes the process more streamlined.
This process benefits concierges as they will know which residents will be coming down at which times, allowing them to know what packages to bring out when for a quicker exchange.
In conclusion, condo corporations have had to adjust the process of managing package deliveries. During this continued time of uncertainty, FirstService Residential has provided concierges, property managers, and residents the correct safety protocols according to the Public Health Agency.