Ultimately, there is nothing more important than the health and safety of our entire staff
If anyone told me at the start of 2020 that we would be social distancing, wearing masks when we walked out of our homes, and would be dealing with a global pandemic, I would think they were off their rocker! Yet, that is exactly what happened and the circumstances that we were dealt.
Two of our core company values at HOA Organizers are being employee-centric, while also being customer-centric. As a CEO, it was truly a delicate balance in ensuring the health and safety of my staff while also balancing the needs of our clients. On March 16, 2020, I decided to close our offices to the public and also shifted our operations to have all our staff work from home. We issued a notice to all of our clients to advise them of our operational changes, while also sharing that our managers would not be attending in-person meetings until further notice. That notice has obviously not come yet!
Since our initial steps taken, we have suspended site inspections when Covid cases have been on the rise, and we have reinstated them...several times. Ultimately, there is nothing more important than the health and safety of our entire staff.
With these drastic operational changes came incredible challenges. We went from having multiple in-person meetings, camaraderie, laughs and in-person support, to then working in isolation. Many of us have kids at home or family members who share our home workspace. We have facilitated weekly management team meetings via zoom, weekly zoom administrative meetings and trainings, weekly staff meetings, and between myself, our COO and our HR manager, personally checking in with our entire team individually each week. Our managers were also assigned senior manager mentors for added support and guidance. We held staff meetings where in between our directional conversations and training, we shared our emotional struggles. We also hired a trivia company to create a holiday party that would be fun and memorable for our team in place of our usual holiday dinner.
In reality, we still struggle with our new work routines. During the pandemic, we polled our staff to see what they would prefer when we would be able to work back in the office. More than 80% of our team shared that they preferred a hybrid of work from home and work from the office. They shared that they miss seeing their colleagues and work family. We miss seeing business partners popping in to say hi. We miss seeing our homeowners and Board Members. While this "new normal" continues to pose emotional challenges for us all, we have found that the most important steps have been to continue to connect with our staff, offer emotional support to one another, and ultimately take the most conservative steps as it pertains to company operations for the safety and health of our employees.
I hope for an end to this pandemic to give us the ability to choose our new work operations and our norms rather than having that choice made for us. I wish all in our industry good health above all else.