Tech receives a lot of credit for helping the apartment industry get through the pandemic. That’s fair, but speaking as a tech provider, we’re going to put ourselves in the honorable mention category. Why? Because onsite teams have been the true MVPs of the past year and a half—and it’s not even close.
For 18 months plus, we’ve observed as onsite teams held communities together through the most difficult period the industry has ever experienced. In what became a contactless environment in an era of social distancing, they put a human face on their communities and bridged the gap for prospects who still had to find a new home during the unconventional madness.
For multifamily purposes, nobody fit the definition of essential more than onsite teams. Even as the industry adopted new technologies and efficiencies, streamlined workflows and automated processes, nothing could replace the people who kept things moving in leasing offices across the nation.
Their steady presence through the turmoil was even more valuable in an industry that sometimes struggles to retain high-level associates, even during conventional times. While tech can be updated or upgraded as it progresses, replacing an onsite team member who can make a genuine impact at an apartment community is much more challenging.
In perhaps the most bizarre year ever, it’s astounding to consider that leasing professionals:
-Had to juggle multiple responsibilities with a limited team and restricted resources. Sometimes they were the only ones at the office and had to stretch beyond their professional comfort zone to tend to a bevy of needed tasks.
-Often left their families during a time when “safer at home” was the nationwide mantra to make certain residents’ and prospects’ needs were being met.
-Were responsible for onboarding many of the new tech platforms, such as self-guided tours, virtual tours and advanced communication tools, to compensate for the touchless environment. These rollouts, by necessity, were often more hasty than usual.
-Had the challenging task of developing deferred payment plans for cash-strapped residents who were temporarily unemployed.
-Were tasked with delivering difficult news to residents, such as service request delays, amenity shutdowns and ever-changing mask mandates.
This list only begins to tell the story of the commendable—and undoubtedly stressful—job that onsite associates navigated during a haphazard 2020. At Entrata we have been honored to work alongside them and offer them tech tools to help pivot, adjust, and hold whole communities together. We know that tech advancements helped the industry through hard times, and we’re proud of our contributions. But it was the industry’s onsite associates who kept things afloat during the pandemic—and we salute them!