Joe Melton, Vice President of Marketing and Management Support Services for the Morgan Group, offers 10 considerations for operators now that so many residents are working from home.
- Understand the demand. Survey residents to assess how many are working and schooling from home during the day and their technology needs. This can help ensure adequate internet bandwidth, Wi-Fi hotspots and cellular reception.
- Be proactive about noise. Having more people at the community during the day means higher noise levels. You may already be fielding complaints. Consider implementing revised quiet hours.
- Your community is now their office. But residents lack access to their usual office services and technology. Consider partnering with a supplier to bring wireless, self-service printing, copying and scanner technologies to your community.
- Offer multiple work spaces. Many communities already offer residents co-working spaces, while other residents may prefer a quiet, personal space outside of their apartment home. See what spaces could easily be converted into individual working pods.
- Offer a change of scenery. Some people need fresh air to recharge themselves. Make sure the Wi-Fi in your outdoor spaces is optimal and consider adding more tables and umbrellas.
- Be inspirational. Create and share Pinterest boards with design ideas for at-home work or school spaces. Pull together helpful articles about work-from-home productivity and introduce a community-wide discussion board via a resident app or portal.
- Be practical about deliveries. Allow direct-to-door delivery for extra-large items like office desks and chairs to keep them from cluttering up the leasing office and to ease the burden on staff.
- Create a “commute.” Some new stay-at-home workers may actually miss their commute, which can offer an effective separation between work and home life. So offer socially distanced “breakfast-on-the-go” bars and “after-school” snack stations to provide a bit of a commute, even if it’s only down a flight of stairs.
- Engage more virtual services. Virtual happy hours and events like cooking or exercise classes can supply a remedy for Zoom fatigue. Look for events and services that don’t require participants to have their videos on.
- Be a fun coworker. Consider hosting a fun Office Space-themed event where you run a raffle for a $500 gift card to West Elm (or, even better, a local furniture store) for office furniture.
Joe Melton is Vice President of Marketing and Management Support Services for the Morgan Group