The pandemic has without a doubt changed the working world. You’ve probably noticed a large number of residents milling about your community during “normal” business hours – those work-from-home (WFH) residents. Global Workplace Analytics states, “Our best estimate is that we will see 25-30% of the workforce working at home on a multiple-days-a-week basis by the end of 2021.”[i]
This situation presents a unique opportunity for your community to stand out and fill a void … a culture void. As the Altantic states, “Working from home, our connection to the office weakens, and our connection to the world outside the office expands. ” In this competitive environment, you could set your community apart by offering ways for the WFH resident to get plugged into your community, building that much-needed connection.
We have three outlet suggestions.
The Water Cooler Substitution
While many employees' companies are probably trying to facilitate team camaraderie virtually, residents are likely missing the water-cooler chats and office social activities. As their new "workplace," you can step up to the plate with community contests that break up the monotony -- in person -- and provide conversation starters for neighbors who may have never had the time previously to get acquainted. Here are a few examples that liven up the community and still allow all of you to keep your social distance:
- Patio/balcony decorating contests for fall, Thanksgiving, Christmas and/or Hanukkah
- A prize drawing if residents pay rent early
- For family-oriented complexes, a children’s coloring contests – hung on the outside of the front doors for judging
Virtual perks (if any) that residents are receiving from their companies don't hold a candle to "in-real-life" ones. Think of ways you can keep work-from-home residents' energy up. For example, do a breakfast grab and go – set up a table at the leasing office, clubhouse, or in breezeways with an individually bagged bagel and cream cheese or fruit cup so residents can pick it up and head back to their “offices.” Or, drop a surprise on their doorsteps one morning: a coffee mug with a gift card.
A Committee They Won’t Dread
At one point in time or another, we’ve all been “nominated” for a committee that we don’t actually want to be on. It ends up adding work to an overflowing plate and more hours at the office. On the flip side, you could offer committees that residents truly want to participate in: event committees that focus on their social interests/hobbies. For example, children’s crafts, cooking, book clubs or working out.