Use Remote Workers to Boost Apartment Occupancy

Apartment managers and multifamily property owners, here’s a question you may want answered: How can you boost apartment occupancy rate and lengthen the average tenancy in the post-COVID era? Multifamily properties necessarily focused on property cleanliness and the health of their tenants during COVID, but we appear to have made it through the worst of the pandemic. Life is returning to “normal.”

Or, is it?

COVID forced many multifamily residents to rely on delivery services for food, Zoom for meetings, and to work from home rather than commute to the workplace. And while they may have resisted at first, many people later discovered they liked those options. The statistical expectation is that food delivery market penetration, for example, will reach almost 33 percent this year, and the perishable food delivery service doubled during the first two years of COVID. It appears Instacart and similar companies are here to stay.

How about the work-from-home movement, though? Should apartment property owners and managers pay attention to the surge in home office apartment dwellers? Is it even possible to leverage the “new normal”? Chances are the demand from remote workers will remain high, especially since there are associated benefits for both companies and employees in certain business verticals — customer support, sales, and education are prime examples.

Back to the initial question about getting and keeping tenants. One way you can do that is to take actions that will make your property the best choice for stay-at-home workers. Let’s look at what that might entail.


How to Provide Apartment Communities Work-From-Home Tenants Love

Apartment living can be ideal for your tenants’ home office, provided you offer the location, structure, and amenities that suit them best. We’ll cover the essentials work-from-home tenants need, as well as their preferred amenities.  We’ll also provide suggestions to help you secure and retain tenants at your property.

Home office apartments need internet access

Your apartment community doesn’t necessarily have to be located in an area where blinding fast internet speeds are available,

but at-home workers do need reliable internet service that gives them enough bandwidth to get the job done. 50 Mbps download and 10 Mbps upload speeds are typically sufficient, depending on the number of occupants and their particular needs. Check with the internet providers that service your location to see what speeds are available. Your own office staff can probably help you decide which ones are the best options.

What if local providers can’t meet the levels of service you need, though? Does that mean your multifamily property can’t attract work-from-home tenants? Not at all. Satellite and wireless internet providers can serve locations wired-only services can’t reach. And Starlink by SpaceX is expanding the possibilities.

Here are several action steps to serve as examples:

  • Find out which internet providers serve your location. List them by company name and contact information, speeds available, cost for each level, relative reliability, and any other criteria your work-from-home prospects will want to know. If you’re not sure … ask.
  • Seek to establish mutually beneficial business relationships with each provider to offer special discounts and other attractive benefits to your tenants. Some internet service providers may even be able to pre-install modems in your apartment units. That can be a huge benefit — no need to wait for an installer appointment to start service. The internet is already there and waiting for tenants to quickly set up service on day one of occupancy.
  • Create a brochure or internet access tip sheet to provide prospective tenants the list you created during your research. Include any coupons or special offers with the package. Apartment shoppers will appreciate that you care about their work-from-home experience and even went the extra mile to help them get going.

Here’s another tip for your tenant-building strategy: Along with the list of internet providers, create a document that gives tenants the company names and numbers they will need for ordering groceries, prepared foods, and supplies.

Home office apartments need a suitable workspace

This may be the number one reason many prospective tenants either overlook apartment-based offices altogether or search only for units large enough to provide an extra bedroom that can be used for an office. While square footage is certainly a consideration, it’s not the only factor. Working from home is possible in just about any apartment — provided the available space is used in an optimum way.

Beyond the size of the apartment, though, working from home usually requires features such as ready access to power outlets, relative lack of outside noise, and access to nature. The reasons for lighting and noise reduction are evident, but why the reference to natural surroundings? In a word: Health. The healthy building movement received a major jump in interest because of COVID. And even without the pandemic, every worker can benefit from a walk outside or natural indoor lighting.

Consider the following questions, then see how many others you can think of that suit your own property location and structure:

  • Do units offer sufficient overhead lighting? Do residents enjoy abundant natural light from windows?
  • Does the layout of the apartments provide adequate space for residents to set up a work-from-home office? Do you provide access to a printer or other office equipment that may be needed from time-to-time?

Home office apartment communities with charging stations for electric vehicles are especially appealing

Your new tenant may not even own an electric vehicle yet, but the idea is top of mind for many consumers. Anyone thinking about going electric will want to make sure charging is available. Building an electric vehicle charging station on your property will make it immediately stand out and may even be the factor that makes you stand out above competitors.

Work-at-home tenants appreciate workout facilities

Picture a person working from home — very likely spending hours staring at a computer screen and sitting in a chair. After a few hours of that regimen your tenants need to get up and move.

If you offer health-conscious amenities (like access to a walking trail and/or an onsite gym well-stocked with both resistance equipment and aerobic equipment) many of your prospective tenants will be duly impressed — even if they already belong to a gym.

Brief workouts during the day can restore energy and improve mood. Health-enhancing amenities tell tenants you ‘get it’ and you care.

Work-at-home tenants appreciate onsite options for services

This may sound a little lavish, but many rental properties are finding it to be a major calling card for the right tenants — and something they will gladly pay extra for. Create onsite spaces for amenities like a dog washing station, picnic area, bike storage, package delivery room, and more. Determine who your ideal tenant is and create services that person will absolutely love.

That work-from-home accountant may not have time to drive downtown to get a gallon of milk. The more you can provide within the confines of your community, the happier they are likely to be with the property.

Onsite services aren’t only an excellent way to impress prospects; they can be a source of additional income. Once you’ve created the necessary space and structure, you can lease those areas to vendors who pay you for providing the location. Think hard about this one. It’s a win/win/win proposition.

Those are simply firestarter concepts you and your staff can use to kick off a brainstorming session focused on prospective tenants who need to use their apartment for work. Since each apartment community will necessarily vary in location and other factors, you’ll want to consider how well your own property can serve the growing number of work-from-home residents.


Here Is the Most Effective Way to Attract Residents Who Work From Home

You don’t have to convert your entire property into a work-from-home location before you can attract renters looking for the right place for their apartment-based workspace. Not only that, but chances are you already have some or most of everything a tenant would need to work from home.

Here’s what you do need, though: You should “bring it up and brag about it.” By that, we mean you must promote your community’s home-based office attributes. First, discover and list them yourself, then create marketing material to support the concept and give that packet of information to every prospective resident who expresses the need to work from home. You might also set up a model apartment that highlights how one might arrange the space to create a brilliant workspace.

Train your staff in how to present the benefits of your property to home workers, make sure you and they believe you’re an excellent choice for those tenants, then track the results. One more thing: Ask your present apartment office residents to provide testimonials and help you determine the present benefits — and needs — that presently help or could help them in their apartment home workspace.

The FIRM Incident Response Management team helps multifamily property owners gain control over the uncontrollable. FIRM clients have one number to call when unplanned incidents arise. FIRM steps in to address the situation quickly, allowing onsite staff to remain focused on their primary responsibilities.

To get more information, or to find out how partnering with FIRM can save you money, save you time, and help keep tenants loyal to your apartment community longer, call us at (888) 910-0994.