Managing Packages at Your Strata Corporation During the Holiday Season
The necessity of managing packages at your strata corporation
Over the past decade, managing packages at your strata corporation has become a necessary part of management due to the increasing popularity of online shopping for clothes, furniture, toiletries, and holiday gifts. Shopping online is accessible, convenient, and fast, and has only become more so in the last few years due to retailers increasing their online presence and online user experience. After placing an order online, residents keep a watchful eye and track their packages along the way. Still, since they live in a strata corporation, they depend on the concierge and strata 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 evolved.
It is important to recognize that a small locker room in a condominium building is most likely no longer sufficient for the number of package deliveries brought in every day. "The space set aside is not often large enough," says Linh Doyle, regional director at FirstService Residential. "The area needed to accommodate them needs to be close to the front desk, so that concierge doesn’t have to abandon their station to obtain packages continuously."
2. COVID-19 continues to be a risk factor.
While things have improved since last year, COVID-19 continues to be a risk factor, one that increases immensely with the holiday season. This is because delivery interactions don't start with the pick-up of packages from front desk by residents. Many package carriers will be coming into the building every day, which involves an increased number of interactions with several different people.
3. Constant interactions with residents can lead to burnout.
Concierges are already on the front lines but at this time of year they will need to consistently interact with residents when they are asked to obtain a package, or in some cases, multiple packages. This can be an overwhelming and time consuming process, especially when managing crowd control and pick-up times, much to the resident's frustration. This causes much stress for the concierge and may ultimately lead 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 everyone in the community including concierge, residents, and strata managers safe.
1. Making room for the package deliveries
As mentioned, package deliveries are coming in at a high rate, with the majority of them coming to the concierge desk. Our solution to help with managing packages at your strata corporation is to dedicate locker rooms for these packages or, if available, a large storage room to provide ample space for concierges to move around.
Further, we instruct the concierge to 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. These details include the date, the carrier, the recipient's name, the package placement, the time picked up, and a signature from the resident signaling the package has been picked up.
2. Maintaining the right COVID-19 protocols.
There are many areas of the delivery process that changed last year to suit the times, but here we dive into the best distancing protocols to maintain.
Keeping plexiglass to separate concierges and others.
Minimizing contact with residents and carriers is essential during this time as there will be a lot of face-to-face interaction. For this reason, we recommend keeping 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 that 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 good 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. Notice reminding residents of this mandate can be especially helpful at this time of year.
3. Streamline the pick-up process.
Establish hours where pick ups will be made possible and ensure your residents are aware of those hours. Our strata managers can determine these times and have them posted throughout the strata corporation or emailed to the residents for notice. For example, strata managers can notify residents that hours of pick-up are between the hours of 9 AM and 10 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, checking their list beforehand to know what packages to bring out for a quicker exchange.
At FirstService Residential, we are always on the lookout for best practices from other industries that can be applied to efficient strata management. When it comes to managing packages at your strata corporation, our proprietary Connect portal lets you accomplish this task the same way professional carriers do. As packages come in, they can be scanned and uploaded at the front desk by the concierge, reducing the probability of error. Find out more about Connect here.
In conclusion, during this time of continued uncertainty, FirstService Residential has provided concierges, strata managers and residents the correct safety protocols according to the Public Health Agency of Canada and municipal bylaws.