Managing Your Portfolio from Afar — Part 1

During this time of social distancing and the closing of most nonessential businesses in the US due to COVID-19, everyone including us within the property management space has had to adapt fairly quickly. After speaking with our customer base, we wanted to share some of the best practices our distributed team has found to lead to the most productivity. Along with these practices, we’ve highlighted some tools within Revela that may be helpful to apply both now and in the post-coronavirus future.

1. Staying Connected with Your Team

Staying connected and aligned with your team is one of the most important things you can do right now, but it is admittedly more difficult to do so with a remote team. Here are a few key tips to help you adjust to working remotely:

Communicate Early and Often

During these uncertain times proactive communication is a necessity, but try to do everything in your power to stay away from email. We switched away from doing the bulk of our internal communication through email very early on and have not looked back. It is because email is such an inefficient tool for real time communication and collaboration that we built real time messaging, file sharing and document management into Revela, which our customers have found to be very useful.

Hold Structured Meetings and Stick to Your Agenda

One thing we have found incredibly useful in managing a distributed team is always, always, always structure your meetings. Before calling a meeting, you should write and distribute a meeting agenda to everyone. Once the meeting has started, we like to follow Amazon’s rules and carve out time for each participant to read through the agenda and items to be discussed, take notes and prepare questions. This strategy ensures that everyone is on the same page and is adequately prepared for the discussion. It also helps everyone resist the urge to talk about everything else that’s going on, which during difficult operating circumstances is important.

Video > Phone Calls

If a picture’s worth a thousand words, a video is worth a million. Holding video conferences allows you to interact with your team in a more personal manner, encourages engagement and ensures everyone is paying attention since they can be seen by everyone else. Our team has used Google Hangouts or Zoom (both of which are free), but have recently switched to as they are still free and are open source (which is better from a privacy perspective).

2. Keeping Your Tenants Updated and Informed

With so much misinformation floating around as the coronavirus pandemic continues to develop, the best thing you as a property manager can do is control the narrative, both as a service to your tenant base and to get in front of any problems before they occur. Here are some quick tips and resources for keeping your tenants informed:

What to Send

More than ever, staying in touch and relaying the most up to date information to your residents is of paramount importance. For the best guidelines on preventing and coping with COVID-19, check out the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Household checklist here. By following these guidelines, you can help your residents avoid contracting and spreading the virus within your community.

In addition to the CDC’s guidelines, it may be helpful to continue to check on your State’s website for updated guidelines, FAQs, news and directives.

How to Optimize Engagement

As you compile news, try to stay away from direct emails, as they can get lost in the deluge of emails everyone receives every day. While we’ve found that the response rate to emails is higher when the email is sent via a Revela broadcast (which also gets posted to the resident’s portal), the best way to ensure that a resident sees your message is via text message. If you’re a Revela user, you can easily text message your residents by clicking on their profile and selecting the ‘Send SMS’ option from the actions drop down. We also offer the option to bulk text residents, provided they have consented to receive text message notifications from your company. To learn more, please reach out to us here.

As always, we’re here to help during this challenging time. In the next article, we’ll be discussing the best practices for maintaining your properties during social distancing and quarantine. If you have any questions or suggestions in the meantime, please drop me a line here.