No Substitute for Personal Interaction

March 2022

Two years into COVID, it has become clear there is no substitute for direct personal interaction.

Restrictions on indoor gatherings, lack of face-to-face interactions and a closed-door policy to building management has been a disaster.

Management and owners are generally agreed that platforms such as Zoom are not a substitute for meeting with people even while the technology does provide some value.  The loss of direct interaction has created a heightened lack of trust by residents in building management and their condo directors.

“Going virtual damages relationships with not only residents but vendors and employees” explains Liron Daniels of Nadlan-Harris Property Management.  “Properties are not being inspected as frequently or extensively as prior to COVID.  At the same time, more are working from home and aware of building deficiencies.  Worn carpets, noise from neighbours and odours are all more extensive.”  Management often fails to respond to these matters for reasons that include an overwhelming volume of concerns and restrictions on their ability to respond.  Residents are less patient at the same time as frequency of issues is growing.  Electronic communications are available at any hour of the day or night yet responses from management have become more superficial and delayed.

Limited staff taking longer to recover from illness creates further stresses on management unable to respond to resident concerns.  Contractors take longer to complete work or to obtain necessary materials before commencing work.  Many are no longer able to make commitments on timing.

Going virtual and relying on electronic communication requires better and faster responses which management is unable to provide in light of growing volumes and restrictions.  Many lack the ability to keep track of the volumes of inquiries, problems and concerns, and fail to respond.  Problems and frustrations escalate.  Those lacking the proper technology and organizational skills struggle.

Communities are finding increased urgency at completing projects, renovating and maintaining their building, and are under greater stress because more people spend more time at home.  They are trying to accelerate timelines when it is increasingly difficult to maintain the status quo.

Many of these problems are unlikely to be resolved until personal interaction is once again encouraged.