person using hand sanitizerYou love your managed community or high-rise building! But obviously, living in proximity to other people can come with challenges, especially during cold and flu season. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, viruses can live on hard surfaces like elevator buttons, door handles, gym equipment and more, moving from person to person easily. As a board member, you want to help prevent that to keep your residents healthy and your community running smoothly. Read on to learn 4 ways you can help do that.

Cleaning and disinfecting common areas

Make sure that your onsite staff has plenty of cleaning supplies and the training on how to use them correctly. During any kind of outbreak, cleaning and disinfecting should be done more often and multiple times a day in heavily trafficked areas like lobbies, elevators, mail rooms and gyms. Add a hand sanitizer station in those busy areas and encourage residents to use it, as well as to wash their hands thoroughly after time in common areas. If you’re not sure where to begin, the right property management partner will have the resources and training to help your board find the right supplies and staff to perform these essential tasks. 

Staying informed

Make sure that your entire board and management team are staying up to date with information from the CDC, World Health Organization and your state and county health officials. A good property management company will make sure its employees are informed and able to advise your board about actions you may want to take, such as closing amenities or cancelling community events. 

Communicating with residents

Good communication, with clear and specific messaging, is always important. When your community is experiencing a spike in illness or viral activity, it’s more critical than ever. Communicate prevention steps like social distancing and any efforts the community is making, like the extra cleaning mentioned above, so that residents know you are putting them first.

FirstService Residential Connect™ provides mass communication tools that allow boards to get messages to residents quickly, whether through automated phone calls, emails or texts,” explains Stephanie Parker, vice president of operations at FirstService Residential. “We understand that it’s vital to disseminate information accurately. When boards can send the same message to everyone at the same time, it helps prevent confusion and inaccuracy that can come when multiple people are reaching out to residents.” 

Moving to online platforms

“FirstService Residential partnered with ClickPay in 2017 to provide an electronic resident payment platform where residents can make one-time electronic payments or schedule a recurring payment,” explains Andrew Lester, president of FirstService Financial, the financial services affiliate of FirstService Residential. “ClickPay allows associations to receive their payments from residents with no disruption to their cash flow, protecting the financial health of the association without any impact by the current coronavirus outbreak restrictions.”

Associations can also pay their vendors online, eliminating the need for that contact and possible exposure. “We have used AvidXchange since 2015. It allows boards to approve and pay all their supplier invoices, contact-free,” says Robert Pagliaro, senior director of financial operations at FirstService Residential. “Suppliers can send invoices by email or regular postal service, and they then get processed and paid electronically.”

In addition to allowing mass communication, Connect allows residents to access a self-service portal. There they can see their balances, make payments, track package deliveries, manage visitors and more, without having to visit the association office. “The more that people can take care of in the comfort of their own homes, without needing face-to-face contact, the healthier your community will remain during an outbreak,” Parker says.
Germs are a fact of life. But with the right tools and a common-sense approach, your board and community can work together to help reduce the spread of any illness – and the right property management partner can help. Learn what to ask any management company you consider.  
Tuesday March 17, 2020