No one saw Covid 19 coming. It has spread rapidly and it will be years before the impact is fully understood. It has raised awareness of how quickly germs can spread and it is forcing everyone to rethink their personal and work behavior. What was once considered unusual behavior like constantly washing your hands, wearing face masks and avoiding getting to close too people, is now the norm.
Anywhere people congregate presents an opportunity for germs to spread and apartments are no exception. How property managers and maintenance staff deal with common areas like pools, lobbies and fitness clubs can be obvious, but germs spread in many other ways and it is important to recognize those areas and have a plan for dealing with them.
One place to consider is door handles in common areas. They may be touched by hundreds of people each day and are prime suspects for spreading germs. Having hand cleaners or wipes on the “pull” side of the door can help but that relies on every user to take action and staff to ensure supplies are constantly refilled. There are other things you can consider. First, can the door be left open during busy times to minimize contact? If not, can you install an electric door opener? If you have the budget, there are several electric door openers that can be opened with an app or motion sensor and can be installed by a locksmith or even your maintenance staff.
Another area to look at is access control card readers, keypads or biometric devices like fingerprint or handprint readers. Again, having hand cleaners or wipes nearby can help but these are petri dishes for germs and avoiding them altogether is better. Card readers don’t always require contact but tenants often share keycards and FOBs which is not ideal. These types of systems also require property managers to have residents come into the office to physically exchange the keycard of FOB, exposing yet more people.
The good news is there are options for affordable products that don’t require residents or staff to touch anything unfamiliar. Face recognition readers are one example but still require residents to go into the office to register their image. And they can carry a hefty price tag. If you need something more convenient and affordable, consider a Smartphone reader and Smartkeys. These not only provide a lower-cost option but they can be easily added to an existing system in minutes. Users simply download an app and self-register, the building manager is notified, and access can be granted from anywhere, anytime without having to meet in person.
A smartphone access control system delivers several other benefits as well:
- When residents and staff use a smartphone to unlock a door or gate, they do not touch any additional surfaces such as a card scanner or keypad.
- Users will rarely let others use their phones which limits any exposure of others as well as delivers some inherent security by eliminating sharing.
- Property managers don’t have to go into to the office to issue or revoke anyone’s access. That can be done anytime from anywhere by simply using a cloud-based portal.
While small signs of improvement are emerging in regards to COVID-19, residents will always want to feel safe where they live. Smartphone access control makes it easy for property managers to provide secure access for building entrances, parking, amenities, and more to ensure the right individuals have access and unwanted visitors are kept out.
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