With technology use on the rise, many companies are transitioning from the typical office atmosphere to building teams that work remotely, often on a global scale. Add the growing renter demographics of Millennials and Gen-Z, who are at the forefront of this trend, and you’ve got a considerable shift in your targeted renter’s needs. Telecommuters have the ability to work when and where they want, and we, as an industry, need to accommodate them.
Unfortunately for many telecommuters, most in-home workspaces are not conducive to productivity. They are plagued with the distractions associated with a home office, from families who fail to understand the concept of being “on the clock” to the obstacles that may accompany a lack of in-office interaction. Now more than ever, many remote workers are often faced with securing a workspace that actually works for them.
Your community can no longer ignore the fact that working from home is on the rise. In fact, recent studies note an astounding 115 percent increase in telecommuting over the last decade. Since working remotely shows no sign of slowing down soon, it may be well worth your time to get ahead of the curve by embracing this increasingly popular work trend. Here are a few ways to appeal to the surge of telecommuting workers seeking spaces that support a positive work-life balance.
Offer Open Workspaces
While you may believe that your apartment community already offers a competitive selection of amenities, you may be surprised to learn that offering open workspaces could take your property’s occupancy to the next level. Therefore, instead of investing in amenities that your residents are no longer interested in – such as theater rooms and community kitchens – use those resources to implement or expand a co-working space, complete with all the equipment your residents need to succeed.
This co-working space could include anything from private rooms for meetings to mounted TV screens for presentations. Given that many of today’s remote workers are in need of such amenities, it’s safe to say that future prospects will be more accepting of higher rental fees if they see these useful accommodations available to them. Think about it this way: when a potential resident takes note of an in-building feature that will help them get ahead in their career, they are more prone to realize the value of your community and sign the lease.
Redefine Work-Life Balance
When it comes to work-life balance, the first question that probably comes to mind is, “What, exactly, defines balance?” Simply put, it is the ability to keep home and work life separate; allowing the focus and stress of work to stay at work, thus being able to give your home life and relationships the full attention they deserve. Balancing both worlds has always been important, and now, it’s even more of a necessity for those who don’t have to report to a physical location every day to carry out their workload. Of course, promoting the “work” aspect of the work-life balance should be simple if you build out dedicated co-working spaces for your residents. Of course, to keep a positive work-life balance, there can’t be all work and no play. Your community’s leisure features will always be equally important as those features that encourage “anytime, anywhere” careers.
In addition to these co-working spaces, you’ll want to keep some of your tried-and-true amenities on deck. Once you start planning to offer new or revamped amenities, think tech start-up office meets luxury apartment community. Your space should inspire creativity and productivity as well as some good old-fashioned fun. While a full suite of office equipment is appreciated, remember to also accentuate entertainment-centric features such as fitness centers, sports courts, and game rooms.
Establish the Value of Your Community
Not all residents are clamoring for traditional, amenities like demonstration kitchens or swimming pools. Although there are additional costs associated with making your community attractive to remote workers, it will be a well-made investment that will set your community apart from the competition. If telecommuting prospects see that your community will equip them with both an amazing apartment and a top-of-the-line workspace, it will make them more likely to make a leasing decision. Even if you decide to charge a higher monthly rent in exchange for trendy, work-friendly facilities, most renters will reason that they will save money by renting with your apartment community.
Telecommuting jobs are on the fast track to replace the traditional office structure, and with technological innovation progressing at full speed, there’s little to suggest that working remotely will show itself to be just a passing fad. As more remote workers enter the workforce and inevitably join the ranks of American renters, apartment communities must better prepare their properties to accommodate residents’ needs. By retooling amenity packages and promoting modern co-working spaces, you’ll not only provide your residents the work life balance they are looking for, but you’ll also establish bring your community ahead as an innovator at the forefront of this trend.
Kerry W. Kirby is a global entrepreneur, technology innovator, philanthropist, and the founder of 365 Connect, an award-winning technology firm within the multifamily housing industry. Over the course of his career, Kerry has been the recipient of an array of highly acclaimed awards, including the esteemed Louisiana Governor's Technology Award. He has been named to the Silicon Bayou 100 List of most influential entrepreneurs for nine consecutive years and has received a prestigious Titan Entrepreneur Award for his technological achievements. An acclaimed speaker, author, and award-winning podcaster, Kerry has appeared on the BBC Digital Planet program, NPR News, and various media platforms and outlets. He has contributed to an array of articles and studies on the convergence of technology in the rental housing industry.
Kerry serves on the Board of Advisors of Rainbow, a national nonprofit organization that provides service-enriched housing programs for affordable housing communities across the country, as well as the Board of Advisors of the Multifamily Women’s Summit, an event that allows women to strengthen their expertise, influence, and professional network in the multifamily housing industry. He is Chair of Technology Initiatives for the Multifamily Innovation Advisory Council, a private, members only group focused on assisting owners and operators of multifamily communities identify pain points and explore innovative solutions that will drive change across the industry.