Happy 2022, everyone!
My New Year’s Eve was pretty tame this year. Stayed in, watched various rockin’ New Year’s Eve celebrations on TV and let my kindergartener and second grader stay up for the ball drop, ensuring that they were monsters for the rest of the weekend.
But I do remember when I used to go to New Year’s parties! And parties in general. Whenever I hosted, it was a lot of fun. Until it got late, most people had left, and there were still one or two people who would not. Get. The. Hint. They would stay there chatting, despite me and my husband starting to clean up. And loading the dishwasher. And theatrically yawning like some goofy teen trying to smoothly put their arm around their date at the movies.
Some apartment trends also refuse to leave after they’re no longer useful/popular/needed. So, in 2022, let’s resolve to let these property management trends die.
Not allowing visible piercings or tattoos for resident-facing employees. Some more conservative areas might still restrict this. But tons of people have tattoos now. According to statista.com, more than a quarter of the people in the country have a tattoo. In New Zealand, they just had the first ever anchor with a traditional Māori chin tattoo. Let’s let our leasing staff express themselves. (And, with the current talent shortage/Great Recession, do we really want to limit our staffing pools over something like that?) One caveat is not allowing anything offensive, of course.
Not taking sick days or personal days. Yes, you’re not going to come in with Covid. (Please, please, don’t.) But American work culture, and especially for those in the apartment industry, is to pull yourself up by the bootstraps and work, work, work, no matter what, because the company will fall down without you. But it won’t. Employees should be encouraged to take their sick days if they’re not feeling well. They won’t be working at their best and have the chance to spread their sickness to residents and other staff. And employees should also be encouraged to take personal days! They’re there to be taken, and it can really help with their mental health and to avoid burnout.
Getting back to prospective renters within 48 hours. This might seem fast, but, sorry, you just lost a renter! If you’re doing virtual tours or have people calling after looking at the apartment website, they’re going to expect instant results. Going forward, a response in 24 hours (or faster!) will probably become expected.
Have certain hours where residents can pick up their packages. I just ordered a case of tangerine La Croix, a foam roller, a Bat Mitzvah card for my cousin and some hand soap. And if I don’t get these super important things tomorrow I WILL GO INSANE. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, e-commerce sales in the third quarter of 2021 were $214.6 billion. And let’s not forget food deliveries such as Hello Fresh and Blue Apron. And birthday presents from grandma! Communities need to adopt package management systems that have flexible hours.
Banning specific dog breeds. According to the Insurance Information Institute, “70 percent of US households own pets, or about 90.5 million families, own a pet,” and 69 million of those own dogs. Pet-friendly buildings were already growing in popularity, but many communities ban specific breeds, such as Pit Pulls or Dobermans. That could be leaving money on the table—for example, pit bulls make up 20 percent of the large dog population. And there is actually a bill heading to congress that addresses the ban of certain breeds in public housing.
Giving new residents and residents who renew leases pun-filled swag. “Life is butter with you here.” (With popcorn.) “We love you a waffle lot.” (With waffle mix and syrup.) “You being here is a real pick me up!” (With dog poop bags. I made that one up.) Just stop! Please.
Relying on all virtual events. With new Covid variants, some resident events might still need to be virtual. But virtual events are so draining, and it’s hard to build a good connection. According to Bizzabo, virtual event attendees are twice as likely to rate these events as “not fun at all” compared to live events. They are a necessary evil, but should not be the only tool in the toolbox.
Being available 24/7 for residents. Going forward, property managers really should prioritize mental health. Yes, open communication with residents is important. But you are allowed to have time off. If it’s not an emergency, it can wait until regular hours.
Do you agree that we should let these trends die? What other property trends should we let go of? I’d love to hear what you think! Post your comments on our Facebook page or send a tweet to @MHNOnline or @jfiur.