A picture of post-pandemic apartment life
Some of the 2020 changes in multifamily operations may stick around for the long-term as resident service perks. Post-pandemic apartment life could mean more amenity usage and higher resident satisfaction.
Necessity sparks innovation
Last year, multifamily property managers had to pivot quickly in response to social distancing requirements and lockdown orders.
These shifts included:
- Creative workarounds to managing community spaces and amenities
- Using existing software in new ways
- Virtual tours and contactless lease signing
- Package lockers, concierge services and other low-contact services for residents
- Efficiencies in property cleaning and maintenance
Along the way, many communities discovered how these changes could positively impact the resident experience. In fact, communities are now looking at how to maintain and expand these services for their renters.
Consider amenity reservations for fitness centers, pools or other on-site community areas. According to MHN:
“This experience proves beneficial even post-pandemic, as providing a reservation system to residents enhances privacy and relieves some of the pains of sharing spaces, including overcrowding and extended use. Reservation systems establish an expectation for how many people and for how long an amenity can be used, allowing shared spaces to truly be shared by the community.”
Thanks to a reservation system, property managers reported increased interest in amenities from residents who hadn’t used them previously. Knowing that they could enjoy a space without a crowd, and for a dedicated period of time, became a selling point for some renters.
Creating a desirable apartment lifestyle in the new normal
As employers grapple with the new business realities created by the pandemic, more people will likely work remotely for the long-term, whether part-time or full-time. That dynamic means property developers and managers alike need to consider what life looks like for apartment dwellers who could be on-site 24/7 for long stretches.
I mean, if you’re only home to sleep, you probably think your neighbors are pretty awesome. If you’re around to hear every dropped coin and remote schooling meltdown, that paints a completely different picture.
Too much family and neighbor togetherness could mean that people need things like soundproofing (you know what, Kevin, you don’t play that bass as well as you think you do), more private space and more opportunities to socialize and play outside of the unit.
BDC Network quoted a report from architecture firm Grimm + Parker, which made recommendations for apartment developers:
“With the projected success of the work-from-home business models, residents will need their units to become more versatile and adaptable, to provide users with enhanced technology, spatial flexibility, and separation, as well as provide adequate mental relief through connection to the outdoor environment and fresh air…”
Kevin, see that? Adequate mental relief. From your bass, buddy.
Three’s a crowd
The Grimm + Parker report also pointed out challenges with communal spaces where overcrowding happens frequently. In a post-pandemic world, residents will be seeking out elbow room. You don’t need to provide grand ballrooms of space, but if you are approaching a new design or a redesign anyway, consider the layout.
According to BDC:
“The report singled out how to make fitness rooms safer by enlarging them with an open floor plan. These areas should offer hand-sanitizing stations and designated spaces for individual and group exercise that include outdoor options. Operable doors would introduce more fresh air into the indoor space and allow for flexibility to scale rooms according to usage and need.”
Mail rooms will also need more space, as well as refrigerated areas for grocery delivery. Now that people have discovered the convenience of delivery, multifamily will need to keep up with the volume of their residents’ new shopping habits.
People still need people
The other side of this conversation is isolation. As people spend more time at home, they don’t have the benefit of random conversations with coworkers at the office. Some of them have heard their three-year-old’s story for the umpteenth time and just need one adult interaction in their day (speaking from experience — who me? — nah).
With many restrictions lifted for the time-being, apartment residents are looking for opportunities to connect with neighbors or even on-site staff. Sure, we can conduct the logistics side of life from a keyboard, but humans need real facetime. As property managers, keep in mind the social-emotional needs of your residents as well as the practical ones.
How are you reaching potential renters post-pandemic? Do you have a strong lifestyle brand that will attract and retain residents? Reach out to us for your multifamily branding and marketing needs.