Page 10 — Property Management Quarterly — April 2021 T his past year has proven to be one of the most challenging in my 40-year property management career. Even my peers would admit that we have had to work harder, smarter and more pro- actively than ever before. Not only are we addressing recur- ring job requirements, but also a whole new set of variables and protocols due to COVID- 19.We have added new com- munication platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams to ensure continuity of service. As the distribution of COVID-19 vaccinations offers the glimmer of a post- pandemic light at the end of tunnel, we are all thinking about what a return to the office might look like for our teams, tenants and property owners. Although numerous surveys and predictions on whether people will return to the work- place at prepan- demic levels have been generated, no one is certain if remote working will take on a larger per- centage post-pandemic. The question of whether people return to the office may be moot.The most suc- cessful companies will antici- pate shifting employee para- digms and cater to the unique needs of their workforce, which may differ across gen- erations.With that in mind, I felt it would be beneficial to share observations gleaned from GenY (millennial) prop- erty managers about employ- ers and employees alike as we navigate through 2021. At a population of over 56 million, millennials are the largest generation in the labor workforce, so their workplace experience has an enormous impact on business outcomes. When it comes to work, what matters to millennials should matter to everyone. A few years back, I had the pleasure of moderating a panel of talented, young millennial property manag- ers and assistant managers as a part of the Colorado Real Estate Journal property management conference. The managers’ panel topics were pertinent and typical to prior years, but what I found unusual was that all the panelists had several com- mon perspectives regarding our industry. As we met and prepared for our presentation, I gained a new appreciation of their opinions and learned they each shared a unique, yet uniform, outlook on their jobs, capabilities and companies. Although successful prop- erty managers often are seen as a “jack-of-all-trades” and able to juggle multiple assign- ments and priorities, these young managers were all con- vinced that they were far bet- ter at multitasking than their older counterparts. Growing up in a world where mobile communication, interruptions and information across mul- tiple platforms are a common part of life has led them to perceive they are more experi- enced and uniquely qualified to handle the constant change and task variances required of property managers. All young managers also agreed they were dedicated to their profession and loved the ever-changing work with vendors, tenants and own- ers. However, they also agreed that they felt little loyalty to their current employer or management company and would always consider mov- ing to a better environment. Several gave examples of see- ing their own parents be loyal to a company for their entire careers, only to be replaced or pushed aside after decades of service.These managers vowed they would not let this happen to themselves. The last and most surpris- ing common perspective was their desire to be considered not only for local property manager positions within their career path, but also for any positions in management or other departments when new opportunities or assign- ments became available. Several of the managers voiced frustration, significant enough for them to con- sider leaving their companies, because they were not consid- ered for an open nonproperty- management-related position. Before hearing their desire to be included in a broader spec- trum of growth opportunities, I would not have considered them for positions outside of their field of expertise. It was not about the money, status or career path, but a need and recognition to be included in the conversation about poten- tial new career opportunities. As a Gallup report clarified, “Millennials don’t see much distinction between their job and their life, they expect flex- ibility and work-life balance, and they will quickly bail on companies that do not meet their definition of a life well- lived.” I know we are all hopeful that the levels of infections and hospitalizations will continue to trend downward, allowing for office occupancy restrictions to be reduced in a gradual manner that will rec- ognize and support the health and safety of all our people. Assuming vaccine distribu- tions and infection rates con- tinue to head in positive direc- tions, most companies will or already have started planning to provide more specific guid- ance to their employees to transition away from home and back into the office. One constant that transcends both the pandemic and the work from home/office discussion is that great employees are always difficult to find. 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Lipan Street Denver, CO 80223 303.477.8300 ARIZONA 5249 S. 28th Place, Ste. 1 Phoenix, AZ 85040 602.470.0208 HAWAII 523 Mokauea St. Honolulu, HI 96819 808.744.5801 OREGON 2855 SE 9th Avenue Portland, OR 97202 503.234.0561 Perspective A younger matter of perspective from a veteran Tom Bahn Managing director, property management, Stream Realty Partners