The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way Americans live, and apartment residents are among the most deeply impacted.
A study by the National Institutes of Health suggests that apartment renters are at a greater risk of experiencing pandemic-related mental health issues than homeowners for various reasons, including isolation caused by social distancing and financial concerns due to job loss.
With the omicron variant surging, the U.S. is bracing itself for another pandemic winter, and Multifamily operators are taking a new look at how they can support residents. In this post, we’ll highlight what apartment residents need in lockdown environments, particularly during winter.
Americans are continuing to spend more time at home, which has shifted the demand for various apartment amenities. In fact, according to a survey by the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, 42 percent of the U.S. labor force is now working from home full time. And, many employers are expected to continue allowing employees to work remotely when the pandemic is behind us.
A resident survey by a multifamily service provider showed that some of the top amenities that remote workers are seeking include:
- Faster internet speeds
- Co-working spaces
- Wireless self-serve printing, scanning and copying
- Video chat booths
These tech upgrades would help ease some of the challenges that remote workers are facing, including work-life balance, finding a dedicated workspace, and being able to focus on work.
Fitness center options
The pandemic placed more of an emphasis on health and wellness but at the same time,
fitness centers were one of the first amenities to be closed at many properties last year.
Although it varies by location, many apartment community gyms are expected to remain open through the winter, but with limited capacity. People who normally exercise outdoors may turn to the treadmills and other equipment at their apartment community fitness centers.
To prevent overcrowding, apartment communities are investing in technology like amenity schedulers that allow residents to book blocks of time to use the fitness center and other amenities.
Vaccination rates vary across the U.S., and some apartment residents may feel more comfortable looking for alternative ways to work out as the weather gets colder. Some apartment communities are offering residents discounted memberships at large chain gyms, which can accommodate more people, while others are giving residents free access to at-home workouts available through streaming services.
Foster connections with residents
Despite social distancing protocols, apartment operators can still help residents feel a sense of community, particularly during the winter.
Netflix offers a “Teleparty” function that allows people to watch the same movie or television show as a group, and it also includes a group chat function. You could plan an all-weekend Teleparty marathon with a list of movies for residents to watch together, and those who sign up can receive pre-packaged goodies like microwave popcorn and hot cocoa mix.
Another way to help residents feel less lonely on long, cold nights is to organize virtual events. You can host a night of trivia, board games, charades and more over Zoom or other online platforms. You can also plan a virtual cooking session where residents create a dish or dessert together in real time with help from an instructor. If you have the budget for it, you can provide all or some of the needed ingredients to residents.
Create excitement through giveaways
A great way to make residents happy and boost your visibility on the web at the same time is to use your social platforms to host contests and giveaways. It can help build a positive relationship between management and residents, and more activity on Facebook and Instagram means your profiles will get a boost in the algorithm.
Come up with prizes that would truly add value to your residents’ day-to-day lives as they hunker down in their apartments during the winter months. Here are some ideas:
- A flower delivery subscription
- A food delivery gift card
- A free movie streaming service for six months
- A gift card for a dog walking service
- A subscription to Kindle Unlimited
With another COVID winter looming, it’s important to show your residents that you care about their wellbeing. By providing amenities that align with remote work, safe fitness options, opportunities to bond over fun activities, and wintertime-friendly giveaways, you’ll strengthen your connection with residents. As a result, more residents may decide to renew their lease, which is good news for any apartment community’s bottom line.