Lessons Learned from the Pandemic

Lessons Learned from the Pandemic

Lessons Learned from the Pandemic 1024 721 Matthew Adam Properties

Ira Meister,
President and CEO,
Matthew Adam Properties, Inc.

So, what have we learned in the more than two years of the pandemic? It’s been a time when we had to quickly adopt new systems and procedures to fight Covid-19, analyze what we had in place and move forward. In doing so, we saw that many of the established procedures helped and we found areas where we could improve. The result: property managers found innovative ways to manage and upgraded systems to help keep residents and staffs safe and healthy.

Initially when the pandemic hit, a supply drought created supermarket shelves bare of toilet tissue and paper towels as well as many cleaning and disinfectant products. Those were the days when it was thought the virus could spread by touching a surface. Matthew Adam Properties represents many institutions which have protocols to maintain sufficient supplies. This contrasts with many properties that utilize just-in-time deliveries. We had sufficient supplies on hand for these properties. Importantly, we also had relationships with suppliers of the products and the supply chains, so we could ramp up orders faster than most. We were experienced in ordering and getting the essentials to the buildings as rapidly as possible.

The institutions also had procedures in the event of an emergency, such as elevator protocols that we were able to immediately adapt to our other properties. We quickly established requirements for masks, screening guests based on rules established by the board, and significantly increasing the cleaning of all public areas, including gyms, meeting rooms and children’s playrooms. We are continuing this increased cleaning. In adopting procedures, we followed recommendations from the NYC Dept. of Health and the CDC.

By the way, as part of our green initiative to help maintain a healthy environment for residents and staff, several years ago we adopted the use of non-toxic products in many of our buildings. Residents and staff have overwhelmingly supported this effort.

Going forward we must remain vigilant as we may not have seen the last of Covid-19, with the possibility of unknown new variants. I believe that in the future we will manage Covid as we now manage the seasonal flu, always aware of its presence and taking the necessary steps, including vaccinations, to prevent serious illness and hospitalizations. This requires us, and everyone, to be proactive.

Another area where we learned much is with zoom meetings. We find them more productive than in-person sessions and easier to have a quorum. Now, rather than requiring attendees to be physically present, those who are away on business or personal trips can join the meeting. This reduces the need for postponements. The meetings, interestingly, have become more businesslike with reduced chatter adding a new level of professionalism and fewer interruptions. We email the board package prior to the meeting, giving board members an opportunity to review the material prior to the meeting.

We have also successfully held multiple annual meetings via Zoom for many of the same reasons we made the switch for board meetings. Attendance is greater, as it is more convenient for residents to join via Zoom rather than leave their apartments to go to a meeting, often not held on site. Again, this allows people who are out-of-town to participate and increases transparency.

One final note. We are grateful to the staffs of our buildings and to the employees of Matthew Adam Properties for their performances in this most trying of times. From the beginning, staff at our properties adjusted and went the extra mile with the new guidelines for visitors and residents as well as helping those who were homebound and needed assistance. The years of ongoing training along with the relationships built up with individual employees contributed to the overall quality and caring performances. There were many examples of individual staff going beyond their normal duties to assist residents. Our staff at Matthew Adam Properties, back-office, administrative and our asset managers all met the challenges of the pandemic as we were able to keep building operations functioning.

Ira Meister
President and CEO
Matthew Adam Properties, Inc.
375 Pearl Street – 14th Floor
New York, NY 10038