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Residents' needs aren't the same anymore

TAGS: Residential
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Residents' needs aren't the same as they were 10 months ago, especially for those who are now working or schooling from home. It's vital for operators to reach out to learn what those current needs are, and reassess what they're doing to accommodate residents.

With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing millions of Americans to work from home, apartment renters are increasingly in need of printing services, and they're willing to pay for the convenience of having those capabilities in their communities, according to a recent survey of over 500 apartment renters.

The November 2020 survey conducted by Satisfacts, titled Working From Apartments: What Residents Say They Need, sought to gain a better understanding of renters' remote working and distance learning requirements and preferences. When asked which apartment amenities would best accommodate their current needs, 50% of respondents listed printing services - second only to faster internet options (54.5%). On an overall value scale, respondents rated faster internet service and printer/copier/scanner services almost equally. 

DRAMATIC SHIFT IN RESIDENT NEEDS AND PRIORITIES

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"It is always important for apartment operators to stay up to date on resident sentiment, but especially when we see such a dramatic shift in resident needs and priorities, as we have during the pandemic," said Lia Nichole Smith, Vice President of Education and Performance at ApartmentRatings and SatisFacts. "Residents' needs aren't the same as they were 10 months ago, especially for those who are now working or schooling from home. It's vital for operators to reach out to learn what those current needs are, and reassess what they're doing to accommodate residents."

PrintWithMe Founder and CEO Jonathan Treble said renters are leaning heavily on their apartment communities to make working and schooling from home feasible.

"We're seeing a transition in renter preferences, away from design and space and toward function and convenience," Treble said. "Apartment residents who now find themselves working or studying from home still require the equipment and capabilities that were previously provided at their workplace or educational institution. It's not surprising to see internet strength and printing capabilities top their list of necessities because those are the technologies that employees and students utilize on a regular basis."

"The survey certainly reflects what we're seeing at the property level," said LuAnne Acton Ross, Partner and Executive Vice President for JMG Realty. "Residents feel better about working from the comfort and safety of their own homes, rather than in a shared amenity space. But they still have a need for a reliable printer, scanner, and copier. We have seen a dramatic increase in our printer usage since the start of the pandemic, and with more of our residents planning to continue working from home post-pandemic, we expect that the trend is here to stay."

Property management companies are quickly realizing that a paperless business model isn't feasible for either their teams or their residents. Fortunately for operators who are thinking long term, renters are also agreeable to paying for the amenities that allow them to work or conduct coursework from home. 

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