December 2022 CAI-NJ

THE WORK/ LIFE SPECTRUM By Nicole Martone, CMCA, AMS, PCAM Associa Community Management Corporation of New Jersey, AAMC

T oday’s work-life balance seems to mean a spectrum of acceptable scenarios. When the pandemic first start ed, to keep everyone safe, the remote work norm was implemented; this was difficult, very difficult. What started as a two-week effort to flatten the pandemic curve, turned into months of working around the clock and developing an aversion to staring at our own faces in virtual meetings. What the work-life scene seems to have transitioned into is a case-by-case scenario of what is and isn’t acceptable. For the property management industry, that translates into community-sensitive challenges that management teams have to navigate through. Two-plus years since remote work started, boards and communities have not yet fully adopted the notion that management can effectively work remotely, and it’s easy to see why. The physical property that we manage can’t always be handled remotely. The in-person interactions that are at the heart of the commu nity aren’t always able to be cultivated through a Zoom meeting.

This negative by-product of the isolation of the pandemic is not easily overcome. The global workforce has been experiencing The Great Resignation, which has prompted people to advocate for the work-life that they want, not the one that is imposed on them. From the manager that decid ed to finally retire in 2020, to the manager that doesn’t want to sit in an association clubhouse 40 hours per week, where is the middle ground? How do we allow for the balance of flexibility and service? Is it possible? It is possible to balance the needs of the community with the needs of those who serve the community, but it doesn’t happen overnight. With all relationships, it’s about building trust. And how do you build trust? Communication is key and possibly overcommunication. Communication of what is being planned, what has been done, and what needs to be done. Communicating when an out-of-office needs to happen and what the contingency plan is. Anticipating that there will be questions, and proactively providing the answers to those questions. Thinking ahead and planning.

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