How the COVID remote workforce will impact multifamily properties


Man using laptop

According to a recent Gallup Poll, 35% of all full-time employees say that, given the choice, they would continue working remotely as much as possible with some industries reporting a preference for remote work as high as 65%. Working from home makes many workers happier and more productive, motivating forward-thinking employers to accommodate the preference. This means today’s workforce will require more efficient and flexible living spaces. Here are four ways this shift in workstyle will translate to opportunities for your multifamily property.

1. Technology use continues to grow
As people consolidate their work and home life, efficiency becomes a necessity rather than a luxury. Renters continue to crave convenience through technologies—like keyless door entry and Wi-Fi adapter plugs—and the demand is fueling the implementation of a host of new technologies in apartment buildings and units. Installing smart technology that will facilitate work life—like smart thermostats, smart power strips and LED lighting with controls—will help your property meet the expectations of the modern remote worker and can add significant value to residents through increased flexibility and reduced energy use.

2. Health and security mindset

With residents receiving more packages and mail, both for personal and professional reasons, many renters will begin to expect secure 24/7 package access as a community amenity. This could include a new shared space for self-service package lockers, smart lockboxes, or storage for package pickup.

However, with the addition of newshared spaces and amenities, comes increased energy and maintenance costs. Properties can limit increased costs in common areas with the installation of energy-efficient lighting and lighting controls that use less energy by automatically switching off when a room is vacant. Innovations in contactless and smart technology—like remote HVAC and lighting fixtures—can empower renters and multifamily property owners alike. Contactless and remote technology facilitate the monitoring of critical systems remotely, resulting in less physical interaction for tenants without compromising the level of service.

3. Hybrid work life comfort
Work-from-home accommodations will influence whether renters renew leases or choose to find new living spaces. To attract and retain more renters and stand out from the competition, property owners and managers need to meet rising expectations and embrace customer preferences. Completing property improvements is a great way to stay ahead of the competition. Enhancements like installing WiFi access points in common areas, gyms, lobbies etc. has become progressively easier to install the last few years and expected by tenants. Well insulated buildings can improve comfort and reduce noise when many people in a building are working from home. Other considerations include small improvements like installing energy-saving products in each unit to reduce energy consumption and help regulate expenses for both tenants and owners.

4. Apartments go green
The coronavirus pandemic made apparent how individual actions impact the global community across all facets of life, including the environment. According to a sustainable living report by multifamily developer AMLI Residential, renters are looking for more sustainable features within their homes and are becoming increasingly interested in energy-efficient appliances. Efficiency will be even more prominent as people’s utility bills increase from spending most of their time at home. Energy-efficient features not only save residents money, but they also work to promote a sustainable living environment. Property owners and managers can consider adding EV charging stations, outdoor walkways and green spaces and even rooftop gardens.

As the work-from-home trend continues to shape multifamily property demands, the way property owners and managers appeal to residents will also have to evolve. Property owners and managers can stay competitive and grow their businesses with property improvements and energy efficient updates that reflect the evolving industry.

For more information on property upgrades, call 1.877.510.2130, email multifamily@energytrust.org or visit www.energytrust.org/multifamily.