Soooo, just being honest here – the original title of this post was “Foundations of the New Normal in Multifamily Maintenance”.

It just didn’t feel right and though accurately descriptive, the term “new normal” is, well, an over-used and somewhat nauseating phrase at this point. It shares similar status to “unprecedented”, “trying”, and let’s not forget our favorite: “uncertain” times.

That said, the team here at ServusConnect is going to work really hard to try and not use any of these (or the other Pandemic Words People Hate) moving forward. You are welcome.  🙂

Let’s Use “New Operational Standards” Instead

It just sounds better, doesn’t it?

Operational standards and associated best practices change as business conditions change; this is a pretty normal phenomenon. What is painfully clear, through 5 months of pandemic-experience, is that business conditions have changed.

This is most definitely the case for Multifamily/Apartment Maintenance Operations – hence there are some new standards and best practices centered around Contact-Less.

Foundations to Contact-Less Maintenance Operations

In previous blog posts, we’ve shared pre & post pandemic data and forward-looking insights from industry leaders, and how multifamily data supports the case for investing in a contact-less resident experience.  At this point, it’s fair to say that operational best practices to minimize close person-to-person contact have become the new operational standard and technology can and should play a key role in facilitating these contact-less experiences.

This being said, there are a three foundational capabilities that should considered essential in order to facilitate a Contact-Less maintenance experience – or…at least they make it much, much easier:

1. Online & Mobile

This is a basic first step, but needed to unlock the rest. It’s maintenance information when staff needs it, where they need it and how they need it. Online service requests & mobile work orders accessible from any device (both staff & resident) is not just convenient and a time-saver, its an essential piece of the new operational standard in multifamily for a contact-less maintenance workflow. It’s also the main contributor to the real-time visibility and reliable historical record-keeping – without real-time input from the field, visibility is hampered and stale.

2. Workflow Automation

Online & mobile unlocks the ability to apply layers of automation to maintenance workflows. Eliminating redundant or routine tasks through automation reduces risk on many levels, not to mention is a huge time-saver. Examples of this are automatically notifying the resident of work order status via text message, or auto-assigning a resident service request to a technician’s mobile device. These are simple, yet effective ways to save time, remove bottlenecks and eliminate unnecessary person-to-person contact, thereby reducing risk.

3. Visibility-Through-Analytics

A key to any successful operations teams, realtime & historical visibility into what’s done, what needs to get done, who’s doing what, resident service sentiment, and countless other KPIs are not just a nice-to-have’s, but need-to-have’s. Combine this with a window into things like geo-mapping of unit conditions (like “units under quarantine”), analytics and the inherent visibility they provide are an extremely important operational decision-making tool.

Operationally Proven, Fundamentally Sound

The good news is that, like many other operational technologies (online leasing, resident portals, chatbots, virtual tour platforms) seeing more wide-spread adoption by multifamily operators, these foundation capabilities have been around for a while and are proven – this is certainly the case with the ServusConnect Platform.

We also recognize that as technology servicing apartment maintenance operations, it is our responsibility to push the limits of our platform and do everything possible to facilitate safe interaction between maintenance teams and residents. Not only are we developing new features to assist in general safety & awareness of maintenance operations, we recognize there is more work to be done, so be ready for more innovation from us in the upcoming weeks and months!