When our operations were disrupted by COVID-19, Roscoe Property Management reacted swiftly and decisively to transform our way of working, and become a largely remote workforce, almost overnight. And despite the unforeseeable complications due to kids at home, pets and kitchen tables standing in for desks, we were pleased to find that we were well-prepared for the challenges of online leasing, resident and client communication, and team collaboration.
For the average employee at one of our corporate offices, the transition was fairly simple:
Step 1: Unplug laptop and ‘borrow’ peripherals – keyboard, mouse, docking station, monitors and maybe a snack from the breakroom.
Step 2: Return home and plug everything in.
Step 3: Get ‘nanny’ to spend quality time with kids (read: iPad), and exile the dog to the backyard.
For our onsite team members who needed to close their offices to the public and still lease apartment homes and serve existing residents, the picture was a bit more complicated. However, our investments in technology over the years uniquely positioned us for success in these difficult circumstances.
Leasing and Marketing
RPM has always adopted a paperless-office mentality in our efforts to both be environmentally conscious and efficient in our processes. The benefits of this approach have become even more apparent these days as our prospective residents are exploring our community and interacting with the leasing team almost entirely online. Prospective residents can navigate our community websites to find the perfect apartment home, apply online, pay their application fees and even electronically sign their lease agreement. We have also enhanced our technical tool kit to promote virtual online touring, facetime touring, and self-guided touring.
Our residents are hyper-connected and savvy users of technology who expect 24/7 access to their account information and community team. We were one of the first property management operators to enable online resident portals where residents can make payments, submit and track work orders, and communicate with their community team anytime. Now more than ever, we are sharing news, updates and important information regarding the community via the resident portal. Staying connected with residents also means continuing to build community despite social distancing. Our onsite teams have never been more innovative in transforming their resident engagement efforts into virtual activities and programming such as online cooking and fitness classes, DJ’ed patio dance parties, and contactless social hours.
Support and Collaboration
As our onsite teams work to stay connected to their residents remotely, our corporate support teams are also evolving their approach to better serving our employees. All RPM team members have access to our online knowledge database where they can reference policy and procedure, download helpful how-to guides, and view short tutorials. They can also reach out directly to members from the support team, including Marketing, Training and Accounting, either by submitting a contact form in the Help Center or sending an email to an internal support email address. We’re relying on collaboration and engagement tools such as Sharepoint and Teams to connect with colleagues and whole teams, and share successes using our internal social media channel, Yammer.
Although we couldn’t have foreseen the circumstances that would have precipitated an adjustment to the approach of the entire property management industry, nonetheless we were prepared for it. RPM has always valued efficiency, innovation, and excellence in our operations. But these same tools and technologies are only facilitators; what has made us successful and effective is combining them with our exceptional, customer-service focused team. The technology supports our work, but it’s the people behind the property that make us RPM.