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Coffee + Covid19 = Resident Engagement Ideas

Updated: Jun 11

Brewing from our home offices - the next big topic! Reopening, and establishing a new normal.



While parts of the country are reopening, here in MN, we’re full of planning questions:

Do we reopen the offices?

Do we offer in-person leasing tours?

What about the amenities?

How do we handle the pool?

And the biggie - the fitness center?


These are serious topics, but let’s add creativity.


I’ve added links below to articles and information provided by experts across the nation in our great industry. But here’s the take on Minnesota; our pool season is already shorter than everyone else’s, and we love to get outside on nice days! We love outdoor fitness, but we also like the gym. Rooftops and patio dining are the perks that get us through winter. Outdoor festivals and up-north resorts fill every summer weekend. Those aren’t likely to happen. So how do we adjust the living experience for our residents?


Ultimately, our goal is to keep people safe even if it means tough decisions. Here are a few thought topics to help your leadership team discuss strategy:


Controlling crowds in your amenity spaces - Mobile Doorman has an app that allows you to utilize reservations in amenity spaces. Consider restricting the number of people, residents only, and one hour time slots with a cleaning break in between.


Pool Use - reservations could apply here too. But also consider alternate options for those who just like the sundeck. Are there other places on the property where you can move a few lounge chairs to space things out a bit? Perhaps you could designate reservations for “swim style segments”; heavy splashing for the kids, walking in water for an alternate in fitness, and 15 minute laps for those who just need a quick fix. This way, your residents can be assured their time slot will match their style.


Outdoor Fun - Whether it’s in the yard, or parking lot, or roof top, think of things that people enjoy doing outside that don’t require being right next to others. Did somebody say hammock? Could be a new move-in gift to take to nearby parks with your logo on it? Bag toss, ladder toss and yard games that require you to stand apart? Fishing gear check-out for nearby watering holes?


Fitness Center - consider reservations here, also options for in-home workouts. Can you lead your residents to the many online workouts that are popping up? Perhaps fitness challenges within your property on popular running apps (Nike+ running has options) to encourage in-home and outdoor workouts. Posted bike route of the day? Would it help to provide “check-out” fitness kits to minimize the use of the room? You could include fitness bands, light weights or kettle bells for a one-hour check-out. The equipment may be in your fitness room, but some of it is mobile and could be used outside or in-home. Just sterilize when it returns.


Lounge spaces - We get it! The same 4 walls are getting pretty boring, and no coffee shop is open to work from. Can you offer time slots during the day for remote working? And perhaps time slots in the evening for safe socializing? Remove some of the furniture and space the remaining pieces out.


Party Rooms - Let’s just change the name now! Club room, lounge, whatever you want to call it, but parties are not going to be happening for a while. Modify this language on your websites and reservations portals. Space out the furniture and you’ll be serving space to work for those crammed into small space with their whole family.


Gardening - Does your property have garden plots? Could it? Our new lifestyle may not be temporary, and people are more interested in gardening than ever before. Consider providing garden plots or boxes for residents to be active outside. They could even have a shared market when their produce starts to “produce” too much (ha, like what I did there?).


Entertainment - there are so many good ideas popping up and if we can socialize from 6 feet apart, there are more options. Movies in the courtyard, yoga on decks, and perhaps even inviting a locally owned restaurant to drop off picnic packs. It’s amazing how much our moods improve if we can just chat with other people from a distance. Imagine all the entertainers who are not booked right now and would be interested in an outdoor gig. Magic shows, acoustic musicians, comedians, ideas are endless for bring-your-own-chair entertainment if you have outdoor space.


Festival Food - Consider food options for your outdoor events that mimic the outdoor festivals we’ll all miss - cotton candy machine, ice cream truck, corn dogs/pronto pups (I’m not here to debate), popcorn stand, food trucks, mini donuts. These vendors won’t be at the fair, so how about your parking lot every so often? There are ways you can space residents out by having time slots for each floor or each building to come down.


Resources & tools to help guide your decisions:

Reopening - Apartment Operators Put Plans in Place to Reopen

Community Building - Moments of Genius with Drew Davis, very fun ideas here!

Restless Residents - Restless Residents & the Maintenance Front Line

NMHC - Reactivation Plans Begin to Take Shape

Alternatives to Amenities - When Can I Start Using the Gym?

CoWorking - The Newest Amenity


RESOURCE_ Resident Engagement Ideas
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