These days, pretty much everyone has a smart phone, which means they have a computer in their hands all day, every day. That makes it difficult to take true vacation days, to 'unplug' on the weekend, and to “leave work at work.” Our work lives and our home lives have merged as we all find ourselves checking email at the dinner table, as we brush our teeth, and as we wait for the train. But even with it becoming ever more difficult to get off the grid, our home is still a place of sanctuary. We get home, kick off our shoes, settle into the couch and get to eat an entire bag of cheese puffs free of judgment. It’s where we raise our kids and where we keep our cherished possessions. These are the comforts that our offices don’t afford us. Even if we’re reviewing work documents in bed, we are still in bed, not at work.
However, for employees of a condo or homeowner’s association—property managers, maintenance staff, and doormen—your home is their work. Your home is the place they have to clock in to, and because you entrust these individuals with your safety and with the upkeep of the quality of your home, it is vital to make sure they are well managed, efficient and happy.
Stay In Your Lane
The human resources side of multifamily property management in both urban and suburban settings can include on-site custodial, accounting, maintenance, mail room, and security staff, to name a few. These are the folks who make the property run smoothly. The pretty flowers that appear in the planters and flowerbeds every spring, and the always-gleaming floors in the common areas don’t happen magically; there is a person or persons behind those special touches, as well as behind the nuts and bolts of each and every managed building.
A good property manager can be the solution to keeping the whole thing on-track, providing guidance to employees, handling challenges or coworker disputes and making sure your building purrs along. “The most effective and reliable way to communicate is if everything goes through the management company,” says Stephen DiNocco, principal at Affinity Realty & Property Management in Boston. When board members or residents take requests for service directly to maintenance or other staff members, a well-ordered system can break down, creating problems for everyone involved.
“It might take the maintenance person out of schedule, changing priorities. Someone else who was promised something on that day may not be getting the services they need,” DiNocco notes. “If a resident says something to the maintenance guy, and he says he’ll write up a work order but then forgets, that request might get lost. And if the unit owner or board member doesn’t call the management company, there’s no way to track the request, to schedule an employee to get the job done and expedite the follow-through.”