We’re living through an unprecedented time in modern history. Because of COVID-19, many states are strongly recommending—or even requiring—only essential businesses to stay open and for people to shelter in place and practice social distancing.
This of course is crucial to slow the spread of the virus. But now, people’s nerves are on edge. Plus the boredom. Oh, the boredom. I’ve been home with my family for a week, and I’m starting to sympathize with Jack Torrance. Heeeeere’s Johnny!
As a property manager, it’s great to want to boost morale around your community. Here are some suggestions of what to—and what not to—do.
Do embrace technology. It’s hard, and inadvisable, to have in-person resident events now. But you can have them online! Use virtual meeting platforms such as Zoom to host a book club with your residents. You could also use Facebook Live or Instagram live to have workout demonstrations (that don’t involve gym equipment). Or use them to have the residents show off some of their own talents!
Do have a movie night. No, you can’t all get together in a lounge. But Netflix now has a Chrome extension where a group can watch on their individual computers and chat together. Or you can suggest a movie for your residents and then set up a Slack or Google Hangout group where people can discuss it. But, while it seems like Contagion and other pandemic movies are trending right now, maybe avoid that and go for something that doesn’t hit so close to home.
Don’t post memes. Yes, a lot of people are joking about self quarantining. And we could all use a good laugh nowadays. Plus, who among us couldn’t relate to the million memes about how people are hoarding toilet paper. (Which, honestly, enough already. Get some new material!) But your community probably has a mix of people. You don’t know if they know someone affected by the virus. You don’t know what some people could view as offensive. Use your social media channels to provide information, not to compare coronavirus to Corona beer. Haven’t we all suffered enough?
Do have grocery sign ups for residents who can’t shop for themselves. Some residents might be more susceptible to the virus and can’t risk going out to a grocery story. Other residents might be looking for ways to help out and can pick up some things for the ones who can’t. This way you can have a centralized list, and you can make sure people are being taken care of.
Don’t be so set in your ways. A few months ago—even a few weeks ago—if someone was late on their rent there would be procedures outlined in their lease that you can follow. But now if people can’t work, they might be late on their rent. If laundry rooms are still open, maybe make the machines free, if possible. We work for a business, but we also have to be compassionate. We’re all in this together.