Commercial real estate owners and operators are, in many ways, new to the concept of community. While they've always been the placemakers for communities of tenants, it used to be that a landlord could simply hand over the keys to the office and call it a day. But the tenant expectations have changed. It's no longer enough to hand over the keys, landlords also have to offer the amenities, experiences, and technology that helps cultivate and nurture their community of tenants.
For the many talents and abilities that landlords possess, community management is often not one of them, nor do they want it to be. But, the new workforce, the generation of the "connected tenant," demands this. If landlords of office buildings incorporate community management & technology, they will win in this new age.
So when (and why?) should a landlord consider hiring a community manager?
Hire a community manager to complement your property manager
Property managers are very necessary and very beneficial to your portfolio especially if your margins are good and they are efficient at their job. This often means, however, that there is little room, time, or money for property managers to also tackle the difficult (and very different) job of community management.
Now, property managers often refer to themselves as people managers - they are tasked with tenant customer support after all, and if a tenant isn't happy with something in the building, property managers do the arduous and thankless job of making them happy again. But people management is different than community management. And on their long list of items that must get done to keep the property running smoothly, community management is often looked at as an extra or a nice-to-have.
Hire a community manager to perfect your amenities and experiences
Millennials, who according to Deloitte will make up 50% of the workforce in two years and 75% in seven years, are prioritizing experiences over stuff. This workforce still needs an office (and sometimes they don't if they work from home), but what they really want is more experiences at work. We've categorized the most requested amenities and experiences into four buckets:
- Fitness: Our country's fascination with wellness and various workouts is no longer just a trend – it's a lifestyle and it's not going anywhere anytime soon. If your building doesn't have a gym onsite, or even if it does, your tenants will love and appreciate a visiting yoga, boxing, pilates, or running class. A healthier tenant community is a happier tenant community. It's science.
- Fun Stuff: Speaking of trends, here are three more to pay attention to (or ask your community manager to) – the foodie scene, craft beer craze, and wine connoisseurs. By hosting events around America's true favorite pastime (food and drink), or other fun events like games, trivia, etc., your property will become a place where tenant relationships are formed and community flourishes.
- Treat Yourself: Heading to the office in the morning is rarely something the average tenant just loves to do, but they will definitely like it more if they know they're getting treated to some awesome services. Think mani/pedi services, chair massages, and more...
- Convenience: Tenants work hard, they work long hours, and often the chores they tackle after work become a major inconvenience. This becomes the "second shift" - the stuff we all dread doing but has to get done, typically outside work hours, like haircuts, grocery shopping, flu shots, dentist, car maintenance, etc. Imagine being the lifesaver who hosts these onsite, removing the burden of these hassles?
If you really want to stand out as an office property that goes above and beyond for its tenant community, those are just a few of the experiences your community manager could help you execute. But, even more important, your community manager will take the time to understand, monitor & measure the experiences that your tenants truly appreciate.
Hire a community manager to implement the tech your tenants expect
Millennials place a high value on user experience and the consumerization of products of services. This is evident in the success of obvious businesses like Airbnb and Uber but also in other businesses like Sweetgreen, lululemon, and Bonobos. They all have a core business – salad, workout clothes, and menswear, respectively – but they also recognize that if they want to be on the mind of their potential customer, they have to also exist on their phone.
These businesses are the perfect examples of a digital experience complementing and even driving their success. CRE is next and tenants will expect a digital interface for their office experience. Community managers are so ingrained with the amenities and events that your tenants will experience, they are the natural stakeholder to build adoption and drive engagement –online and off.
We believe that blending beautiful space with the amenities, experiences, and technology that builds community will be the biggest driver of success and property value for landlords. If you currently only possess the beautiful space part of that equation, we can help you figure out the rest.
Not ready to talk to us just yet? Or are you trying to learn more about the expectations of the new "connected tenant?" Check out our latest whitepaper.