COVID19 Update: A Year in Review
It has been just over a year since the COVID19 pandemic dramatically changed the way most of us live and work. Every business sector has felt the impact in one way or another, and we recognize that everyone has sacrificed and suffered at some level. That being said, there is also a lot to be proud of in the way each one of use has faced and responded to this worldwide crisis. We have experienced some remarkable change, resilience and innovation by coming together to help respond to this global crisis.
In the face of the 3rd wave of COVID19 infections and growing uncertainty due to the identification of numerous variants of concern, we continue to monitor the economy carefully. We continue to adapt our service offerings to provide service and help with the safety of our team members and customers.
With safety top of mind and uncertainty of changing government restrictions, we continue to look for opportunities to maintain stability and adapt as needed to improve our processes. Our goal is to improve customer service and minimize disruptions experienced by our customers and residents.
The following are some examples of what Emerald Management & Realty Ltd. has done to respond, adjust and evolve processes and practices in response to COVID19:
- Essential Service Provider – As we were deemed to be essential services, we responded immediately to modify operations with the implementation of personal protection equipment (“PPE”), social distancing, plexiglas partitions, and restrictions on who and how many could enter our office. At the same time, we responded with increased cleaning protocols and worked with the support of our valued trades and vendors to implement the necessary changes and signage for apartment and condominium buildings.
- Communication – At the beginning of the pandemic, the majority of our team worked remotely. While we were fortunate to be designated an essential service and work from our head office on rotation, our team pushed forward to create more online functionality and improve paperless practices. Some of the innovative communication improvements implemented include:
- Virtual Meetings – Our team quickly adjusted from being in-person to being much more virtual. Sometimes we have had to meet in person or organize a meeting to address concerns as a better way to work through an issue. Where needed health and safety protocols were implemented for the safety of all involved.
- Regular Covid Updates — The imposed government rules and restrictions have changed and continue to change. We have used our website as a tool to update our property management community and provide information to help others know where to go for reliable help if an issue was outside of our suite of services or expertise. We continue to meet weekly with departments, send out regular information emails plus blog updates on what is happening in our community.
- Available 24 hours a day 7 days a week — Our team continued to be available to respond to emergencies and use our regular reporting practices to keep our clients informed. In accordance with government restrictions, our office was open to help tenants, condo owners and condominium board members. We updated our online contact forms across all platforms and enabled a text chat function on our website at www.emeraldmanagement.com.
Online Functionality – In addition to the above, we improved our online application processes and lease signing. We also increased our use of Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn to remain connected with our communities and be responsive on the various platforms. This not only helped to foster creativity and some fun, but provided another way to communicate, connect and monitor the needs of our property management industry and our residents.
- Workplace Health & Safety Management — Systems along with health and safety programs, protocols, procedures and manuals were reviewed and updated. This has been done on a continual basis to stay current with the ever-changing work environment this past year. Signage has been posted at rental properties and condominium communities in accordance with bylaw requirements and property management regulatory requirements.
- Customer Service — Customer service remains a top priority. The pandemic has reminded us of the importance of kindness and taking a moment to check-in with each other. People are on edge and a little kindness goes a long way in working together. Firstly, we helped to source resources to help tenants and condo owners access sources for help regarding rental payments, payment of condominium fees. Where able, we assisted with payment plans, where to go for income, food and mental health supports.
Secondly, since property management is and has been face-to-face or in-person, Emerald has continued to provide personal service as much and whenever possible and permitted. For instance, they say, “Smile, it is free therapy”. We have seen the positive impact of a thank you or a kind check-in with out team from vendors and customers.
Lastly, our team also found a way to safely continue with our annual warm winter clothing drive in support of Project Warmth Society. The opportunity to make a difference and support of community in dropping of clothing was greatly appreciated.
- Leasing – The pandemic has changed how we work with prospective tenants and the techniques used to market available apartments and homes for rent. Prior to COVID19, we had already been doing online marketing and using virtual tour techniques when required. However, given the restrictions in place, our leasing team responded immediately to this challenge. One of the amazing outcomes achieved was the ability to collaborate with current tenants on virtual showings. Leasing and marketing ramped up with the use of YouTube and FaceTime. At the same time, our leasing agents reignited basic sales techniques where face-to face interactions and accessibility was a challenge.
In-person tours also continued in accordance with safety and social distancing protocols in accordance with Alberta Health Services and supported by the Alberta Real Estate Association and the Real Estate Council of Alberta.
- Maintenance: Early on, emergency work orders were prioritized for the protection of residents and the properties. From there routine or regular maintenance was scheduled as a collaborated effort with our in-house maintenance team and residents to coordinate times where residents could be out of their homes or socially distanced. Our in-house maintenance team was outfitted with protective gear and cleaning supplies for everyone’s safety, to maintain empathy, and for respectful management of fears and risk of transmission.
Our team is monitoring construction resources and supply chains to assist in the completion and prioritization of work moving forward. Communication remains key as product availability can be uncertain with employee quarantines and infection outbreaks in the manufacturing sectors.
- Education: We have continued our weekly team meetings and increased brainstorming and team building ways to improve service and learn about PPE requirements and safety protocols. The Emerald Team has also looked for ways to have some fun at work and build connection. At times, meetings and celebrations have been by zoom or over the phone – everyone’s input, creativity and support has been greatly appreciated.
So … what have we learned?
We have learned that:
- Simple things like: Washing your hands, Wearing masks and Staying 6 feet apart – can help prevent the spread of disease.
- No matter how well we think we are prepared, sometimes life throws a curve ball and and you have to change course.
- We are great at thinking outside the box to problem-solve and help each other.
- We are innovative, creative and efficient when addressing emergency situations.
- A small act of kindness and interacting in a human way can make a difference.
Our team at Emerald Management & Realty Ltd. remains optimistic that this pandemic will eventually end. In the meantime, as the economy cautiously opens we believe in many ways we will be better on the other side of this crisis.
In conclusion, we are proud of our team and their dedication to ensuring that we provide the best possible service in the safest way to our property management clients in Calgary & Area. Despite the anxieties, stress and fatigue that the pandemic has placed on many lives, our team has embraced new policies and practices with open minds and positivity. Thank you for belief and supporting local small businesses in Calgary like us.
Stay safe. Stay well. Stay positive.
on behalf of the entire team at Emerald Management & Realty Ltd.
Jodena Rogers & Lauretta Enders
Emerald Management & Realty Ltd. is a family owned and operated Property Management Company based out of Calgary, AB. We have almost 50 years of experience in providing responsive asset management services to condominium, commercial and rental properties in Calgary & Area. Our ability to foster positive relationships based on mutual respect and communication has nurtured our commitment to the provision of management services congruent with our customer’s needs and goals.