April 2021 — Property Management Quarterly — Page 23 Management T he past year certainly has taught us the lesson that there is no normal when it comes to tenant and property owner needs during a time of uncertainty. Every day presented new challenges based on safety protocols, mask mandates, employees working from home, shifting hours of busi- ness for different tenants and ever- changing work environments. Need- less to say, all of these challenges and demands required that a property management team ultimately be flexible and ready to respond, regard- less of the hour of day, or night. As part of a property management team representing office, mixed-use, medical, retail and industrial proper- ties throughout the Denver metro area, we’ve been confronted with challenges and requests that went beyond anything we had ever experi- enced before. It required a team that was flexible, creative and willing to adapt to new situations and a variety of unique requests. There still is a lot of work ahead as we continue to adjust to what the pandemic has created for property owners and their tenants. Many believe the full impact will never truly go away, and properties will continue to be faced with challenges that haven’t been experienced before. Perhaps some of the examples of what our team was confronted with during the past year and the work that was done to help resolve unique issues will provide inspiration and creative solutions to others as we all face the future together. n Mobile workspaces . As uncer- tainty and questions about the pandemic continued to rise, some tenants decided to take their work- spaces mobile. For example, a medi- cal tenant made plans for a mobile clinic and asked for permission and direction on how he could establish his new mobile clinic in the building property’s parking lot. Management coordinated with the adjacent vacant property owner to directly lease a parking area for this tenant in the lot since our office building’s lot could not accommodate the minibus’s size. This took the pressure off the ten- ant to find a space and the landlord to disappoint or argue with a tenant and opened a door for communica- tion with the adjacent vacant build- ing. n Shifting hours of business. While the idea of a 9-to-5 job has been a rarity for a number of years, the idea of “regular working hours” went out the door with the arrival of the pandemic. Whether it involved ten- ants arranging for different work hours and shifts for their employees, or property owners establishing a sliding scale for tenants to use the building as part of safety protocols, property management teams had to be available and responsive. Some of the challenges included making arrangements for building doors to remain open, maintaining 24/7 secu- rity teams, monitoring deliveries that might arrive in early mornings or late at night, being available to ven- dors and control- ling access points. Property managers were constantly on call and ready to respond to any emergencies or needs that might arise during these new work sched- ules. n Safety, safety, safety. Even with vaccines now available, safety remains a prior- ity. Some of the numerous efforts included putting “pandemic cleaning” into effect immediately, including changing all cleaning agents so they were medical grade and approved by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; “desk drops” of hand sanitizers to every employee’s desk; establishing “vendor screening” ques- tionnaires; and creating travel maps for tenants to control traffic flow and maintain distancing and segregating the building with vendors. Making sure that safety protocols were being followed by all tenants remains a priority. n Communication. Consistent com- munication is always key, and it became even more critical during the past year. Property management teams were charged with the respon- sibility of keeping their tenants informed. This was done by creating and implementing tenant question- naire forms regarding COVID-19 to protect the team prior to sending property managers or engineers into a space to address maintenance issues. We coordinated access for our building engineers to complete work orders done before the tenants arrive, as early as 3 or 4 a.m., to help with social distancing protocols. We kept up with the changes in COVID-19-re- lated regulations for each district and communicated those changes and expectations to our tenants as well as let them know what our team is doing in reflection of changing regu- lations. We passed along government loan/assistance programs to tenants and building owners to help with the decreased business and cash flow for both parties, and created payment plans for tenants and negotiated between them and building own- ers for rent relief and deferments. In addition, we scheduled extra clean- ing for offices that reported illness or possible contact with positive COVID- 19 cases, increased building signage regarding COVID-19 regulations, developed a communication protocol for when positive cases were report- ed and created a plan to notify other tenants while maintaining privacy. As companies and their employ- ees continue to return to their busi- ness address, new challenges will present themselves in regard to scheduling move-ins, addressing the safety protocols of increased building populations and making sure that tenants feel safe and comfortable in their work environment. As a result, a lot of new issues will need to be addressed by flexible and profes- sional property management teams. Fortunately, we’ve all learned a lot during the past year that we can apply to better times ahead. s Management must be ready and willing to adjust Maria Galindo Property manager, Elevate Real Estate Services Andrew Glaser Property manager, Elevate Real Estate Services