Spring 2020 has been unlike any other in the history of not just our property management business but also our Broken Arrow community and the history of the world. As you know, the Coronavirus has presented unprecedented issues but also unprecedented opportunities. For many, it has afforded people the opportunity to work from home. For many it has afforded people to return to some hobbies. For some it was more cooking and more family time at the dinner table. For others, finding the time to do their hobbies often put on the back burner because of the busyness of life, people were able to re-engage with those hobbies again. I have witnessed more people in my neighborhood walking and jogging on a daily basis than I ever have! With that opportunity came some challenges too. Many people became teachers of their children learning new platforms for each school, becoming great on zoom platforms. Seniors in high school had a unique senior year with proms canceled. Colleges sent their students homes and closed the dorms. They watched lectures online. Only essential employees were out in the community. This ranged from healthcare providers to grocery store clerks. Zoom, Webex, Skype, and FaceTime all became a new norm. People realized that many tasks could be done remotely and safely in the comfort of their own home. Have we found a better way to work in the midst of the crisis or pandemic? In some ways, maybe so.
There were some heartaches too. If a patient had to go to the hospital they had to make that journey alone. There were funerals that allowed only ten people or less or funerals were canceled or postponed altogether. Gathering at the churches as a congregation became illegal as well as any group of ten people or more. The grocery stores closed early so they could restock and sanitize and clean the store like they have never done before. The stores also created “senior” hours which was the initial hour of opening so that this critical age group that was identified early to be the highest risk age group could get the essentials at the safest time for them. And who can talk about the pandemic without mentioning the early hoarding of toilet paper and hand sanitizers that quickly became comic relief for many Facebook memes.
As life in Oklahoma and a few other states are starting to reopen our new normal has changed. For example, the salons were the first to open but with significant changes. To go to a salon in Broken Arrow or Tulsa, there cannot be customers “hanging out” in the waiting room. They have to be waiting in their car until they are communicated with to come inside. They also must be wearing a “face mask” the entire time of their appointment. This presents an opportunity to find that mask that wraps around the ears and not the head so that the professional can maximize their performance. The stylists are also required by the board to also wear masks and extensive cleaning and disinfecting between each client is required.
As this pandemic has lasted far longer than any of us wanted and had almost crippled the economy, Oklahoma was one of the first states to start returning to normal. This was determined to be the appropriate time as daily hospitalizations, new cases, and deaths have been tracked on a daily basis that is widely accessible and on the forefront of everyone’s mind. As the curve has flattened, the jury is still out to see how these new “rules of engagement” causes the curve to spike or stay flat. Our hope and prayers at PMI Green Country is that so many lessons have been learned during this tough experience. We hope that people continue the great hand washing techniques throughout the year but especially during the annual flu season that occurs year after year. We also hope that being sick is viewed differently and people feel good about staying home when they are running a fever. We had the opportunity to learn so many new ways of working at home, we hope this continues as the new normal behavior so that all diseases can be minimized from harming others. We hope this helps employees and employers operate from a position of strength increasing their knowledge not only on the spread of disease but also how to minimize the risk of spreading the disease.
As far as PMI corporate and PMI Green Country and how we handled the pandemic was a learning situation. While the office stayed open during normal business hours, the doors were locked so that the exposure to people was limited. If a customer did need to come in, sanitizing doors, door knobs, ink pens and anything shared was sanitized immediately. The office was cleaned morning and evening to make sure that risk was minimized not only to protect ourselves but also to protect those we came in contact with.
PMI corporate did a great job at proactive communication on how we can all share best practices and brainstorm through the issues that presented. Corporate helped walk us through the small business loans and how to collectively make sure we had empathy with our tenants while still protecting our owners assets. The state mandated some laws around late fees and evictions that we happily worked with tenants and owners on.
How we come out in this crisis will influence the generations to come. Lessons learned, practices of empathy and seeing how we can take care of each other during this critical time will mark history and be talked about for centuries. Today, on May 1, 2020 I sit in my local Broken Arrow subway and I dine in because it’s the first time in over a month I’m allowed to do something other than curbside or take out. And I have missed those experiences! This great nation is resilient and we have leaned on each other to learn and grow through this pandemic. Our PMI family to yours prays that you stay healthy and bounce back financially during these turbulent times.