Multifamily Florida - Summer 2020 - 5

FAA UPDATE

Difficult Times Yield Valuable Lessons
OK, I'LL ADMIT IT. I've never been a big
fan of working from home. Maybe I'm
"old fashioned" but I've always preferred
to work in an office setting and, as I've
found myself managing a team of employees, I've always preferred to have them
working from the office as well. Before
mid-March, I'd probably not worked from
home more than two or three times over
the past decade.
There are a million reasons why I'd tell
you that it's better for me to work from the
office: I'm more productive, there are fewer
distractions (that pile of laundry is calling my
name as I write this), and the Wi-Fi is much,
much faster! But ultimately, I think I prefer
to work from the office because I'm a people
person and the collaborative environment of
face-to-face working energizes me in a way
that working solo never will.
But, like many of your companies and
communities, FAA closed its headquarters
office on March 17 and the decision as to
whether or not we would work from home was
made for me. Employees set up work space
in their homes, which became their "offices"
for at least 12 weeks. With no road map to
follow, no precedent to review, we found
ourselves relying on trial and error to figure
out processes and procedures. As an article in
Time magazine proclaimed, "The Coronavirus
Outbreak Has Become the World's Largest
Work-From-Home Experiment."
It's an experiment that has yielded some
valuable data, some of which can be useful in
the long-term. Here are some of the lessons
my team and I learned.
Figure out how you're going to communicate. From the beginning of our work-fromhome status, we had "stand-up" meetings,
almost every day and usually in the morning.
The term "stand-up" refers to a short meeting
where everyone will remain standing and

thus be more apt to stay on topic. Our
stand-up meetings consisted primarily of
team members reporting what they're working on, giving updates on projects, maybe
asking for feedback regarding a particular
challenge. But the meetings weren't all business, all the time. My team loves trivia, for
example, and so we'd often close the meeting
with a few fun trivia questions.
Understand that people's differences
might be magnified. The varying strengths
among individuals can be a huge part
of what makes a team successful. When
"normal" suddenly and unexpectedly
undergoes a radical shift, the ebb and flow
that previously characterized the team no
longer works. For example, some team
members might like the instantaneous
communication and issue resolution of
online chats or instant messages. For others,
the ding that signals an incoming message
can constitute an interruption to the focus
they need to work.
Encourage your team to establish and
stick to a schedule. Early on in the "safer at
home" phase of the pandemic, Capt. Scott
Kelly, FAA's 2019 annual conference keynote
speaker shared lessons learned about isolation
during his year in space. "You need to schedule things like work, rest, taking care of your
environment - your 'space station,' whether
that's the house you live in or the apartment
you live in. Take time to go outside, if you
can. Sunlight and nature are so very important to our health."
Be flexible. How often did we hear in the
past few months that we need to "pivot"?
How about "new normal" or "unprecedented times"? Changing economic and
societal conditions, as well as government
orders, forced all of us to change priorities.
FAA pivoted by taking a leap into online
learning. Despite never having provided

online education, FAA presented several
successful webinars on Thursdays in April
and May. These free webinars covered
topics such as leasing, building community,
and fair housing during the COVID-19
pandemic. There was even a webinar just
for suppliers. FAA members can access
recordings of the Thursday webinars at
www.faahq.org/recorded-webinars. In addition, FAA offered legal webinars with guest
speakers Harry Heist and Ryan McCain,
for a total of 10 webinars over the course of
seven weeks.
Be compassionate. While it may be
tempting to adopt an attitude of "keep calm
and carry on," you can bet your staff or your
colleagues are dealing with struggles you may
not be aware of. In addition to trying to work
from home with children, pets, or partners
underfoot, they may be truly fearful about
their own health or that of family members.
They may be frustrated by not being able to
visit elderly family members.
Establish and respect boundaries
between work and home. Technology made
working remotely possible. Technology
also makes it possible to be connected all
the time, and that's not necessarily a good
thing. When we work in an office, our
commute signals the beginning and end of
the work day. When working from home,
we need to create that delineation, such as
by taking a walk when you log off for the
day. Of course, there will be times when
it's necessary to work outside of your usual
hours. Just make sure that the "usual hours"
don't become "all the time."
By the time you read this, I expect we will be
working at FAA headquarters once again. It is
my hope that the lessons we learned while we
were working remotely will carry through to
help us all grow as individuals, and to make the
FAA team more effective than ever.

FA A H Q.O R G

B Y J O S H G O L D , C A E , C M P | EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT

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Multifamily Florida - Summer 2020

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