COVID-19 (Coronavirus) – Update #3
The past week has been incredibly trying for all of us, but we are also extremely proud of what we have accomplished in such a short time as circumstances continue to shift rapidly. Below is an update that includes a summary of what you can continue to expect from our team as well as some action steps we would recommend that you take in the short-term.
Continuing to serve our clients while social distancing
We have now taken the necessary steps that will allow Stratawest to continue to provide continuity of services to clients with the vast majority of our employees working remotely. Our office is closed to the public and we will not be conducting in-person meetings at this time. There are only a few essential employees who need to be physically present in our office to do their jobs. They will work in shifts and be spread across several floors.
Our employees will continue to be available to you, 24/7 for emergencies and during regular business hours for day-to-day inquiries, but our team will be prioritizing the most urgent of emails and phone calls.
We feel confident that we can cover the most important day-to-day activities with a reduced team of individuals on site, and our PMs, support staff and bookkeepers working remotely. We know that we are not going to be perfect through this crisis, especially with depleted staff and lack of physical access to many resources, but we have a robust plan in place to ensure that we will be able to answer your questions, provide forms to owners who are conveying their suites, ensure your employees and contractors are being paid and more.
There are areas where we will simply not be able to meet our contractual obligations to you and we apologize in advance for that, but ask that you be patient as we work to catch up once the more acute phase of this crisis is behind us. We will all get through this together.
What you can do
- Form an Emergency Committee. If you haven’t already, this will be essential so that you can consider issues as they arise and make quick decisions without waiting for council meetings. Examples of new and unique challenges you may be facing include: whether or not to increase garbage collection frequency if volume increases substantially, hiring additional cleaning support if infections appear in your community, whether or not to prohibit open houses and access to amenities, whether to proceed with General Meetings where urgent work is being approved (deferring non-urgent general meetings is an easy solution where appropriate), staffing shortages when employees self-isolate, and more civic related concerns like ensuring the elderly and most needy in the community are well taken care of, dogs are being walked, groceries/meals are being delivered and more.
- Work together to solve challenges. People are coming together in the communities we manage, which is excellent to see. While we intend to support you through this process to the best of our abilities, we also need to make clear that our employees are being overwhelmed with inquiries of varying natures in areas where we have no previous expertise. We are learning on the go. Please work together to solve some of the challenges, particularly those that are minor and can be handled without our urgent involvement and those that go beyond the scope of our expertise.
- Stay informed. We will continue to provide you with the most up-to-date information we can as it arises. We are collaborating with industry colleagues to develop and share new information bulletins (some of which we have previously provided), resources for beleaguered Strata Councils to help with disinfecting common areas (a bulletin from Phoenix Restoration is attached) and more. New industries are also appearing. For instance, colleagues at Engineering firms we work with are offering to do assessments of your property to examine your key building systems in an effort to ensure they are mitigating transmission risks as best as possible (e.g. Positive air pressure in hallways is being maintained). Your PM can point you in the direction of these, and we will continue to send updates as they become available.
- Use technology to connect. All of our PMs are now equipped to work remotely with more or less the same resources as if they were at the office, and now they are all able to hold meetings remotely via Zoom. If you do not already have the app, we encourage you to download and test it on the device of your choice. It is easy to use and will allow PMs to conduct Council meetings remotely with you.
We are making every effort to do our civic duty of facilitating social distancing while supporting our clients and the more than 11,000 residents in the buildings we manage. We are also looking to strike a balance between prioritizing the health and welfare of our employees and enabling them to continue to earn a livelihood.
We are deeply proud of how our team has pulled together and risen to meet this unprecedented challenge and we’re confident that we can continue to provide the excellent support you have come to expect from us in the weeks and months ahead.
As always, we thank you so much for your continued support.