How Your Management Company Can Help During the Holidays
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Or is it? From Halloween to New Year’s Day, everyone’s calendar is jam-packed with events, parties, charity drives, shopping, decorating and more. If you’re an association board member or committee member, you may also be responsible for activities within your association. We have good news! Your trusted property management team can help with some of the heavy lifting for holiday tasks in your community. How?
1. Assistance with charity drives
It’s always nice to give to others but charity drives abound during the holiday season. Your management team can help your board communicate your drive to residents, clearly explaining what they should do, where donations should be delivered, etc. Depending on space and security in your common areas, the team may also be able to help organize and store donations until they are delivered.
Need help deciding on a charity activity? Food and toy drives are wonderful and always appreciated, but there are other things your community association can do in your area. Consider adopting a family though the Salvation Army, Soldiers’ Angels or a local women’s shelter. Even just over-tipping the servers at your holiday party or favorite local restaurant can make someone’s holiday a lot brighter. Don’t forget your four-legged friends! The Humane Society’s Fill the Bowl Project helps support local shelters, and all animal shelters can use food, blankets, bowls, cat litter and toys any time of year.
2. Seasonal communication
If you’ve not already done so, this is a good time to set policy for holiday party booking of common spaces. “The board should consider prohibiting bookings on holidays for non-association events,” said Andy Sorenson, vice president at FirstService Residential. “By doing so, conflicts between residents over common areas are reduced. Taking this measure will also limit the liability of outside guests, especially if alcohol is involved.”
“Holiday times are notorious for frequent garbage disposal clogs, so the general communication I send out includes what should and shouldn’t go into the disposal to prevent problems,” says Jaime Sikorski, general manager at FirstService Residential. “We also remind residents of policies on short-term rentals and other holiday matters.”
3. Extra security
The jury is still out, but it’s a common belief that crime, including home burglaries, increases during the holiday season. People are out and about more than usual and may leave empty homes full of expensive gifts. If your property management company already provides security services for your community, it should be able to help provide extra security staff during the holidays if desired.
4. Fair enforcement of decorating policy
Does your community have a holiday decorating policy? Some communities choose to regulate sizes and types of displays, when they can be illuminated, dates decorations can be up, dates they must come down, whether or not live trees are allowed in high-rises and more. If your community has chosen to establish standards like these, count on your property management team to remind your residents about these policies and enforce them fairly and evenly.
5. Help with holiday party planning
When the work is shared, it’s easier for everyone to enjoy a happy holiday season! Bring in professional help. Your professional property manager will have suggestions or existing relationships to help with vendor selection.
A great caterer is an asset. The best ones will have access to other party pros like musicians or DJs, face painters, entertainers and photographers. If you have a caterer you love, stick with them! “When you work with vendors you know and trust, it makes life a lot easier,” says Christian Ortiz, community association manager at FirstService Residential.
On top of all that, your management team will be able to help spread the word about the event, whether through a mass communication system, e-newsletters, social media, posted flyers or all of the above.
6. Package management
In the age of Amazon, package management has become more important to high-rise buildings and condo associations. Online shopping isn’t just for the holidays anymore, and package volume has increased year-round.
Joe Padron is a regional director for FirstService Residential and director of front desk operations. He trains people in front desk operations, including package management, for dozens of high-rise buildings and has done so for several years. “A heavy volume of packages is now pretty steady, all year long, thanks to buying habits and the direction society is going,” Padron says. “People want to make the most of their time, so they have more daily essentials delivered.”
Some high-rise associations are going to the lengths of remodeling and repurposing underused space to handle packages that come through postal mail, UPS and FedEx, to say nothing of Instacart and other grocery shopping and fresh delivery services.
7. Additional staff
We discussed the high-rise package management conundrum. That’s just one reason you might want extra hands on deck during the holidays. Maybe the volume of holiday guests means you need an extra person to patrol the parking lot or garage to check space violations, or you just need an assist with general extra work during this time. If your management company is large enough, it will be able to help with temp workers so your holiday time runs smoothly.
8. Christmas tree removal
Don’t know what to do with all those Christmas trees? If your municipality doesn’t have a designated day for Christmas tree pickup, see if your property management company can arrange one with your landscaper or a waste removal company. They may be able to recycle those trees instead of sending them to a landfill.
Along those lines, if you live in a high-rise and have the staff to help, Dante Chiabra, vice president at FirstService Residential, suggests designating a "box drop-off day." On this day, residents can leave flattened cardboard boxes outside their doors for collection (if it is safe to do so) to avoid jamming their trash chutes.
We know the holidays are busy and can be stressful, especially with extra jobs for association board members. Your professional property management company can ease that burden and make your holidays a bit brighter.
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