Community association managers remain largely protected from the employment impacts, such as furloughs and layoffs, that have affected so many other Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic. Managers are performing essential services for their clients, guiding communities with operational support and advice that affects the health, safety, and welfare of homeowners and residences.

Since the start of the pandemic, more than 90% of managers report that their employment has not been impacted, according to a survey conducted by CAI between April and July. Those reporting no employment impact remain virtually unchanged between April and May, when 91% reported no change, and between June and July, when 92% reported no change.

Similarly, community association management company executives reported few layoffs of community managers; 91% said there had been no layoffs in April and May, while 93% reported the same in June and July.

Management companies, however, haven’t been immune from the pandemic. From April to May, 34% of executives reported decreased revenue in ancillary services, 30% saw a decrease in resales, and 1% in management fees; 29% reported no lost revenue. From June to July, 36% reported a drop in ancillary services, 24% in resales, and 6% in management fees; 28% reported no decrease in revenue.

While community association managers have largely been protected from layoffs, the decrease in revenue has forced some management company executives to make adjustments elsewhere in their business. In the early stages of the pandemic, 30% of executives said they laid off other staff members compared to 66% who had not. In the past two months, 27% of executives said they laid off or furloughed other staff compared to 65% who had not.

According to anonymous, open-ended responses to the survey, some management company executives reported reducing hours or not hiring seasonal staff to avoid layoffs or furloughs of existing workers to minimize employment impacts.

Many of those surveyed said they had the capacity to conduct business remotely before the pandemic and were primarily working from home with only occasional workdays on-site, where measures were taken to practice social distancing such as having minimal staff and closing the office to work by appointment only.

A management company executive in Washington state said that organizing virtual meetings and adopting electronic voting has made their work more streamlined during the pandemic. “COVID-19 has completely changed the way we do business. However, a majority of our changes have improved our efficiencies in such a way that we’ll be continuing after the restrictions are lifted.”

CAI has collected more than 1,000 responses to the survey; 535 from April to May and 470 from June to July. Collectively, 247 CEOs and senior executives in management companies responded to the survey—143 in the first two months and 104 in the second two months. About 650 community association managers responded—342 in the first two months and 301 in the second two months. Roughly 100 respondents described themselves as having a different role in the community association management field.

>>Find more research, resources, FAQs, and best practices related to COVID-19. 

  • Laura Otto

    Laura Otto is the senior editor of CAI’s award-winning Community Manager. A seasoned journalist, Laura previously worked for a creative, advocacy agency in Washington, D.C., where she wrote and edited content for a variety of public health clients. Prior to that Laura served as a senior writer and editor for the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Laura is a graduate of Temple University in Philadelphia. She currently resides in Alexandria, Va., with her husband and two small children.

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