Managing COVID Changes In NYC Beyond Cleaning

There’s no question that COVID has upended the way property operations teams are work in NYC.

There’s regular cleanings and disinfections, managing social distancing in your space, and ensuring that anyone who passes through your property is as safe as possible.

But beyond that, COVID has changed so much about how day-to-day work gets done in the city. Let’s take a look at just some of the different ways teams have had to respond to COVID, and how your team can best handle ongoing change:

Changes in Compliance

When it comes to compliance, as you know all too well, change is a constant.

We’ve already documented a number of changes in our previous posts. And it’s likely that we’ll continue to see adjustments to some due dates, agency procedures, and filings throughout the rest of the year.

So while things like due dates for specific filings are set for now, anything could change based on the spread of COVID. Here are a few ways to stay on top of the changes instead of getting steamrolled by them:

  • Confirm vendors and staff are up-to-date on filing adjustments: Is anyone on your team/working with your team responsible for filing documents that are now submitted online instead of in person? Ensure internal staff and vendors have what they need (signatures, for example) well in advance so nothing is filed post-due date. Speaking of due dates…
  • Don’t count on adjustments – aim for on-time submissions: It’s true – some due dates, like the first cohort of LL 152 gas inspection filings – were pushed back this year. That said, there’s never any guarantee that required inspections and filings will be delayed. When it comes to regular requirements like Benchmarking, elevator, boiler, and especially facade filings – make sure you’re performing and submitting them on time.
  • Plan way ahead: Are you aware of all the inspections your team will have to perform, and documents your company will be submitting this year? You can use our 2021 Checklist as a starter list, and plan out each month of compliance requirements well in advance. That way you won’t be caught by surprise or scrambling to catch up.

Changes In Everyday Processes

Compliance aside, what about the rest of your processes?

Teams are dealing with the impacts of COVID restrictions on everyday projects like move-outs. Move-outs already require multiple steps, involved parties, and can impact your organization’s NOI if they’re not done quickly. Add in further complications like the Tenant Protection Act (which requires quick turnaround on things like security deposits), and you have a complex project made even more complex by COVID restrictions.

Here are a few ways you can manage changes in everyday projects, including compliance and beyond:

  • Streamline your tracking: How is your team tracking progress on every project? The more you know about every step in a project, and what’s being held up, the faster you can target and resolve any issues. That way, if security deposit returns is the last item on your move-out list, you’ll know where the delay is (and you’ll have a better idea why).
  • Review your onsite tech: Ensuring your onsite staff can make updates while they’re in the field is critical. Whether you’re using inspection apps, or other mobile tech, you’ll want to make sure you can receive and view updates without waiting for your team to get back to the office.

How To Best Manage Future Changes

Change isn’t easy. And it certainly isn’t easy when you’re managing a large amount of team members at disparate locations. But in today’s world of property operations, it’s absolutely necessary.

Organizations who are able to adopt to changes more quickly and easily are the ones who come out on top, especially when dealing with ongoing crises. 

With that said, there are a few ways your team can think about tweaking your working process to best adapt to change:

Evaluate Your Team’s Timing

Time is key when it comes to changes. Now, processes can take longer because there’s more steps to complete, or because your team has way more to do in general. In either case, it’s important to know average project lengths for specific processes so you can better gauge what’s working, and what’s not.

For example, if it usually takes your team 10 days to manage a turn, and that’s now increased to 14 days, you can determine why and adjust processes to avoid further delays (especially since delays impact your bottom line).

Assess Your Process Agility

You’ll also want to ensure your processes are agile. That is, you can quickly (and effectively) implement changes in how things are done when you need.

For example, sending residents a COVID screener before unit inspections may be part of your process now. If you need to add more requirements to the screener or change when it’s sent out, you’ll want to make sure your staff can implement adjustments ASAP.

Stay Connected

That’s with each other, with your vendors, and with community organizations and resources. Staying connected is the best way to make sure you’re informed about the latest changes so you can spring into action ASAP.

We’ll keep you posted on compliance changes and updates to industry best practices, just like your vendors should keep you informed on any required modifications or new suggestions.

Doing things the “same old way” doesn’t work when so much has changed. But with some advanced planning and a little process tweaking, you can crush any change that comes your way.

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About the Author

Kristen Hariton

Kristen Hariton is the Vice President, Product Engagement at SiteCompli, focused on exploring new solutions and innovations in property operations tech. When she's not sharing the latest industry trends, changes, and updates, she's planning her next adventure to Walt Disney World.