COVID-19 has forced many renters out of the office and into a work-from-home situation and renters have had to adapt. What we’ve seen in every round of our COVID-19 National Renter Study, is an increase of renters working from home who have no idea when they will be allowed to return to work. According to our overall study, only 38% are working from home however 86% don’t know when they will go back which leads to renters facing challenges working from home. The top 3 challenges renters are currently facing are a normal workday schedule, no dedicated space, and not used to working from home, none of which probably come as a surprise.
A normal workday looks so different since COVID-19. When it comes to facing the workday schedule while working from home, many distractions pop up. Focusing on keeping the same parameters as if you were still in the office is a huge help. Using Social Media to reach residents in helping them carve out a break for a few minutes will go along way. Posting reminders to stand up and stretch or take a walk around the community will lead residents to feel the workday schedule is as normal as possible. Even offering lunch to be delivered from a local restaurant to a resident’s home is a great gesture and allows residents to feel their workday is as normal as it was prior to COVID-19.
Although no dedicated space is most definitely a struggle for many renters creating a workspace in a small apartment is possible, it just requires a bit more creativity. The need for an effective home office is a trend that won’t go away anytime soon and we must help support or residents on this new way of working. Establish a specific work corner, a work chair, or desk. Residents should remember to keep the same dedicated space for work every day; switching locations daily can cause your brain to not be in work mode and really lead to distractions. Offering current residents to post their creative workspaces on a resident portal or on social media can help other residents who struggle with no dedicated space.
Renters are just not used to working from home. For years renters have not had to think about sharing their living space with their day job. There has always been a very well-defined line of when between work and home life, however now renters are struggling with separating work from enjoying the comfort of their home. Remind residents to put their work away at the end of the day by shutting down laptops and even turning phone notifications off can help create the same effect as “leaving the office”. Create social distanced community events that allow residents to leave their work at the end of the day and enjoy something outside of their apartment home.
Looking to hear directly from current renters about working from home during COVID-19? Take a listen to our podcast “Conversations in the Blue Chair”. Listen in as renters tell you how things are going and hear about the challenges they are facing.