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 co-op, 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. “Typically, if a community is large enough to have on-site staff beyond the community manager, the manager serves as the point of contact for all employees and reports to the board,” explains Andrew S. Fortin, senior vice president of external affairs for Associa, a nationwide property management firm. “The board’s role is to set broad goals and a budget for the operation of the community, and the community managers job is to work with the board to carry out those goals. The process works best when the board functions as a board and the manager functions as a manager.”
Randy Rosen, CPM and president of Rosen Management Services in Chicago echoes Fortin almost exactly when he says, “The day-to-day management of the staff should be left to the property manager or the property management company. The board can and should provide input, but the board should not micromanage the employee, because it gets confusing. If an employee thinks that they can befriend a board member and undermine the manager's authority, that's a recipe for disaster.”