HOW MULTIFAMILY COMMUNITIES CAN MEET RESIDENTS’ NEEDS DURING THE PANDEMIC
The past two months or so have been a whirlwind, to say the least. While so much has changed, and while some things remain uncertain, our human need for belonging hasn’t budged a bit. Multifamily communities can play a big role in helping people feel safe, secure and at home – now and for the long haul.
So, how do you bring people together without bringing too many people together?
For several years, we have helped multifamily properties develop a strong online presence that also encourages community engagement. Resident portals and social media hubs can help bring people together within a property.
While property managers can use these hubs to share community news and updates, also consider how residents can use them to share photos, chat and host online events with neighbors. When residents feel connected with others who live within the property, they will feel more invested in it. When it’s time to renew a lease, those relationships will factor in to their decision to stay or go.
Your on-site staff can take the lead in managing these virtual meeting places and sharing news that supports your branding messages.
Now that more places are beginning to reopen, multifamily properties can also consider how to safely open shared spaces. Community gardens, dog parks, lounges and more can be managed to allow small numbers of residents to gather at one time.
In addition, property managers can host events for 10 people or less (while ensuring that participants follow safety protocols). These intimate gatherings could have the positive side effect of fostering deeper relationships between neighbors who have felt the impact of social isolation during stay-at-home orders.
Keep tabs on public health updates for your area, and follow your city, county or state guidelines for when and how to host in-person events. When hosting, clearly communicate to participants your risk-management plans for conducting the event safely.
Multifamily unit sizes have trended downward for the past several years, while shared spaces have become the focus. In light of Covid-19 concerns, multifamily property developers need to find a way to balance the two.
Real estate website GlobeSt. sought advice from architects on how to approach the problem. One solution would ensure that:
“…unit decks overlook a common open space, providing both a connection to the building community and private outdoor space. Equipping these private outdoor spaces with planters for gardening provides both an activity that supports an overall sense of well-being and an option for growing fresh herbs or produce to support less frequent trips to the grocery store. Designs should also capitalize on opportunities to visually engage with the broader neighborhood context and street activity to further reduce a feeling of isolation.”
Common areas will remain important, but community managers need to reconsider how to maintain and sanitize them, and how residents can use them safely. Encouraging a sense of community and minimizing isolation while placing resident safety first will continue to pose a challenge.
Some shared amenities, such as coworking space, might see a surge in demand as more people plan to work, live and play at home. However, property managers may need to reflow these spaces to allow more distance between each user. Properties planning in-unit upgrades might also consider how to include pocket work spaces in alcoves or corners that can allow residents to live and work at home more easily.
Above all, residents need to feel heard, and they need to know their concerns have been addressed. Now, more than ever, multifamily staff need to keep communication lines open.
Listen to concerns and respond immediately. Communicating your commitment to the safety and well-being of all community members will help ease fears and allow your residents to truly feel safer at home.
Need help crafting marketing messages for your multifamily property? Reach out to us to learn more about our personal approach, backed by years of expertise in the industry.