Working from one’s apartment or building is not new—in fact, from 2005 to 2017, remote work grew by 159 percent. But since the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020, more workers and businesses have shifted to the work from home (WFH) model than ever before. For many, the shift to remote work may be a permanent one.
Today, there are legions of full-time WFH individuals, project-based workers, entrepreneurs, and freelancers. They all need quick and easy access to the amenities and services that they would normally use in an office or co-working space before the pandemic. Multifamily Executive quotes PrintWithMe CEO Jonathan Treble on this point, who says that “we’re seeing a transition in renter preferences, away from design and space and toward function and convenience.”
That’s why, more than ever, renters are carefully examining the work-related amenities offered at multifamily communities before signing a lease. Here are some of the top features that remote workers seek from their apartment buildings.
High-speed internet comes from several sources, including cable, optical fiber, and fiber-copper hybrid. The latter involves fiber to a local “node” and copper for the final leg of the journey. The desire for fast internet predates the pandemic. Consider a survey of 5,800 apartment residents. Almost 39 percent of respondents said high-speed internet was a “must-have.” It outranked popular amenities like fitness centers, covered parking, and pool access. A 2020 survey of more than 500 renters also revealed high interest in effective internet services. More than 54 percent said fast internet was the number one amenity when working from home.
It may be a digital age, but the need for hard documentation remains during the workday and beyond. A recent SatisFacts survey also highlights the need for printing services. More than 51 percent said their printing needs were either the same or increasing. Another 47 percent felt they would use a community printer “often” or “daily.” More than 57 percent of survey participants said they printed more than 10 pages per month.
Residents need to print everything from shipping labels and event tickets to legal and tax documents. Some residents install their own multi-function devices that print, copy, scan, and fax. However, even those individuals run into situations that demand business-level services. This includes printing large numbers of copies, as volume printing is not always cost-effective on a personal printer.
Community printing is also seen as part of an eco-friendly sharing economy. A community printer can save up to 550 lbs of individual waste and 4750 kW of energy per year. And residents who live in buildings with a community printer no longer need to maintain their own stocks of paper, ink, and toner, which can add up to be pricy business expenses.
The pandemic reduced business center activity, but only temporarily. Business center use will rise as vaccinations increase and infections decrease. For example, the need for work-related meetings will grow as the effects of the pandemic subside.
Business centers often provide the space required for conference calls, slideshow presentations, sales pitches, and catered lunches. Some offer residents access to desktop computers. Business centers also offer access to higher-capacity printers than residents would normally invest in. Business centers often have other kinds of equipment found in traditional offices. A paper shredder is one example. Business hubs may also cater to the personal needs of workers. They may have vending machines, mini-kitchens, and complimentary coffee. Or, they might be situated in proximity to coffee shops.
Prospective WFH tenants will want to take a closer look at a given property’s business center. Is there adequate space? Does the equipment appear up-to-date and well-maintained? Is it possible to reserve workstations or meeting space in advance?
Co-working areas often include table space where one-on-one meetings and collaboration are possible. Many include a conference room available by reservation. Conference rooms may include screens and sound insulation. Some properties even offer larger co-working areas that are available for lease.
For many, co-working spaces provide a much-needed work-life balance. Residents often share apartments with family members or friends. A business center gives them a place where they can get their work done while the others enjoy the living space. Residents who use business centers also reduce space demands in their apartments.
There are computer-based amenities like extra electric outlets and charging stations. There may also be amenities focused on the individual. Some business centers are in proximity to resident lounges. Others are conveniently located near a coffee shop or restaurant within the building.
Business-related amenities are good for tenants and management alike and feature-rich business centers convey a tech-savvy image.
Luxury Living for Remote Workers
Many of Draper and Kramer’s luxury properties offer WFH amenities. For example, the new Aspire Residences in Chicago’s South Loop offers personal working spaces along with free Wi-Fi. The resident cyber lounge makes it easy to connect for work or play. The business center at 1130 South Michigan is spacious, well-lit, and modern. The Gold Coast location also offers computer workstations and a conference room.
In Chicago’s River North neighborhood, Hubbard 221 offers a co-working hub. It is conveniently located by the Starbucks coffee nook and management offices. River North’s Grand Plaza maintains a 24-hour business center.
Residents at Sonterra Blue in San Antonio, TX, enjoy access to a full-service business center. In Irving, TX, Crest at Las Colinas Station features an ultra-modern flex workspace with Wi-Fi. The Evo Apartments in suburban St. Louis offer a business center with computer workstations and printing capabilities.
The team at Draper and Kramer makes it a priority to address the work demands of the residents at its properties. This includes providing amenities like fast internet, easy printing, business services, co-working spaces, and more. Visit Draper and Kramer today to browse luxury properties equipped to handle all of your remote work needs.