Tag Archives: COVID-19

Focus on Your Employees

Stressed young woman grab head while sitting with son schoolboy at table with textbooks and notebook and studying difficult online homeworkBy Shawn Conrad, CAE

We’ve all seen the reports around the tight labor market and rightfully so. Hospitality, construction, retail, and manufacturing industries like parking and mobility are grappling with a shortage of workers as our businesses and economy inch forward.

While the search for new employees is getting a lot of attention, it’s important to check-in on our current staff members to see how they are coping with today’s stresses.

In a number of human resources-focused reports on the status of employees’ mental health during the pandemic, it comes as no surprise that our employees are dealing with an extra heaping of worries that stem from COVID, its variants, the stress of children being home and schooled virtually, work budgets being cut or reduced, and a plethora of work or personal issues. With all this happening at once, take some time to see how your team members are coping. While the issues people deal with can be complex, there are a few things supervisors can do to decrease an employee’s stress and anxieties:

  • Be transparent with your information–surprises amplify anxieties.
  • Be flexible, if possible, with work hours to help parents work around their children’s virtual schooling.
  • Plan work projects in advance and prioritize them so co-workers can meet expectations and timetables.
  • Ask your employees how they are doing–and really listen to their response.
  • Acknowledge what people are doing and let them know you appreciate them.

Most important, be sure to focus on your well-being. As the airline industries have cemented in our brains, put your oxygen mask on first before trying to help others.

There are going to be challenges ahead of us, but if we look after each other and take care of our physical and mental well-being, we will be able to tackle these challenges and seize the opportunities coming our way as well.

Shawn Conrad, CAE, is IPMI’s CEO.

What is the Long-Term Impact of COVID on the Parking Industry?

The graphs of different colored viruses. (3d render)By Jeff Perkins

The pandemic has not only changed the world forever, but has also had a significant impact on the parking industry. In 2020, the volume of parking significantly decreased, and many of the underlying consumer behaviors related to parking transformed. Now, as parking comes back and surpasses the pre-COVID levels, the big question is: what’s has really changed?

The insights from the past 20 months give us some ideas about what we can expect in the future. Here are a few observations:

  • People are gravitating to their personal vehicles versus public transportation, putting further strain on city congestion and parking. Only time will tell if people go back to using public transit, but for now, the personal vehicle is clearly the preferred method of transportation.
  • Office buildings that used to be full five days a week now see fewer employees as companies offer much more flexibility. This has led to commercial properties rethinking how parking is allocated as companies are less willing to pay for unused spots.
  • Universities are offering much more flexibility for parking. Rather than forcing students to buy a permit for a semester, many schools are introducing a “daily decision” option, giving students the option to pay as they go.

As some of these trends continue to evolve, the parking industry will need to take a closer look at policies and technologies to ensure they are keeping up with the changes in consumer behavior. The reality is, what worked in 2019 just might not work in 2022 and beyond.

Jeff Perkins is CEO of ParkMobile.

Frontline Fundamentals: Refocused and Refreshed: Experiential Customer Service. Presented by Dennis Burns, CAPP


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Cities Move to Make COVID-inspired Parking Features Permanent

Delaware City became the next municipality to consider making COVID-inspired on-street parking changes permanent last week when its city council moved to keep “grab and go” downtown parking spaces for the long haul.

Twenty-three such on-street spaces will stay in the downtown permanently, allowing drivers to park for up to 15 minutes to pick up purchases, restaurant orders, etc.

The city follows Philadelphia, where legislation was introduced to keep “streeteries” and outdoor restaurant/cafe seating areas on sidewalks and in on-street parking spaces with a new process for approval.

Is this happening in your municipality? How is your organization involved? Let us know!

Bring Mine to the Curb, Please

By Tina Altman

Do you think curbside pickup should continue once things get back to “normal?”

I used the Walmart pick up/delivery services long before COVID-19 came along. I’m not a shopper and would much rather select what I need and move on to better things. I’m all for the curbside staying in place!

There are so many good reasons to keep it. Along with the ability to continue distancing, we also save time and money, and there are no lines or crowds to wait in. It’s a win-win in my eyes!

I’m still using curbside service for larger grocery orders, online shopping, and dinner pick-up. Curbside saves me money by letting me avoid the temptation to pick up random things to add to my cart, and it gives me more time to do other, more important things. Many businesses have this service down to a science while others leave a lot to be desired and could really use some pointers! How does curbside pick up affect you?

Tina Altman is IPMI’s manager, member and events services.

Embracing “E” Words for Campus Mobility

College student wearing a mask and biking on campus.By Sarah Blouch, Carl DePinto, Zachary Pearce, and Keith Palma

Initiating changes to parking and mobility systems on college campuses can be difficult and frustrating for campus parking professionals. New solutions to old problems abound as technology and innovation flourish in the industry. But the fear of the unknown, competing needs for a scarce resource that require established priorities, and the inability to gain consensus (much less a direction) on those critical priorities are all frequent reasons why university leaders tend to resist making changes. They have enough challenges to deal with at any given time, so why create more?

Well, it turns out there is nothing like a good crisis to help the evolution of change move forward! While the pandemic forced everyone into crises management mode for the past 15 months, we have now shifted into planning for a “new normal” and at the same time, seizing opportunities to implement long-desired changes to make our systems more effective for the customer and efficient for operations. Flexible and scalable parking options to address hybrid work schedules, protocols around cleanliness and social distancing, and event parking changes to better manage traffic and enhance safety for the sellers are all now possible (and in many cases required) to manage the long-term aftereffects of COVID-19.

It is time to embrace the ”E” words: Evolutions in operations to Enhance Efficiency and Effectiveness.

Carl DePinto and Zach Pearce are with Duke University and Duke Health; and Sarah Blouch and Keith Palma are with CampusParc. They will present on this topic at the 2021 IPMI Parking & Mobility Conference & Expo, Nov. 29 – Dec. 2, in Tampa, Fla.

September 1, 2021: Free Online Shoptalk: Hospital/Medical Center Parking and Mobility: Unique Challenges and Solutions

Hospital/Medical Center Parking and Mobility: Unique Challenges and Solutions, Moderated by George Richardson, CAPP, UF Health Shands Hospital

Register for free here.

Join IPMI for our next online Shoptalk addressing the parking, transportation, and mobility industry’s response and recovery planning. Open to all, join us for discussions centered on best practices, next steps, and the challenges ahead.

Hiring During the Pandemic

Stock photograph of job resume inside orange folder with mask.By Kathleen Federici, MEd

Many organizations are looking to hire talent to lead their mission in some way or another. According to Employee Benefits News, while many organizations made layoffs at the start of the pandemic, more than 80 percent plan to hire new employees. So the job posting goes up, but where are the qualified applicants? That resume from the retail chain associate doesn’t read as having any of the qualifications for the job. That nurse or teacher who wants a career re-boot has never worked in the industry before. Maybe they could do the job? But wait, what about the required technology skills?

As you recruit, you may find this pool of candidates is missing critical skills to be able to perform a job successfully. Perhaps your organization can start an apprenticeship program to upskill these candidates.

Breaking a role down into easy and generalizable chunks can assist when hiring during the pandemic. Does the role require administrative work? If yes, what projects require that attention to detail? Does the role require customer service skills? If, yes, how has the candidate demonstrated those skills with others in previous roles? Does the role require systems, reporting, or software skills? If yes, what technology skills are required?

Employers have mastered the transition to operating remotely during the pandemic. Building a virtual workforce is the next hurdle employers face as they make plans to rehire this year. Many candidates want to continue to work from home for a myriad of reasons.

Chin up. Hiring during the pandemic can be challenging, but your next round of awesome employees is right around the corner!

Katherine Federici, MEd, is IPMI’s director of professional development.