Community and connection is more important than ever; but what does that look like in this new landscape?
As we continue to navigate this unfamiliar territory of the pandemic, it is becoming increasingly apparent that social distancing is going to be the new normal for a while. Therefore, instead of resisting this new landscape, we need to dive into it.
Researchers have found that loneliness is as bad for our physical health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. 15 cigarettes a day. Property managers need to help residents combat loneliness and isolation by creating a sense of community through shared experiences.
Yes, you may need to pivot a bit. After all, the role property management plays in apartment communities was not meant to live only in the virtual space. However, the goal remains the same: To create a community for residents. The need for community and for connection does not just disappear because residents cannot leave their homes. In fact, it’s just the opposite. The need for community and connection right now—in any form, no matter how brief—is more important than ever.
Therefore, instead of postponing or canceling future events and/or activities, brainstorm how to tailor the event/activity to work within these circumstances. Don’t wait to add an event to the calendar once social distancing is behind us. There are so many ways to create shared experiences. Here are just a few ways:
Trivia Night: Bring residents together weekly or monthly with a little friendly competition. A lot of people that hosted trivia at local bars are now hosting it virtually.
Cooking Class/Demonstration: Pair up with a chef from a nearby restaurant to bring an interactive, virtual cooking class and/or demonstration to residents.
Paint and Sip: There are many Paint and Sip businesses run by local artists around the Boston area. Drop off the necessary supplies to the residents who sign up, and offer a night of creativity.
These are just a few ways to connect residents, not only with one another but with local businesses in the neighborhood as well. Furthermore, by providing an opportunity to tip or donate to these businesses, residents can contribute to their community. But not all events need to be so formal and structured. Any amount of time your residents can connect as a community will be beneficial, even if it is simply bringing everyone together for five minutes of clapping and cheering to remind residents that we are all in this together.
There are so many ways to provide connection and community—it’s just going to require a little creativity. Residents are eager to join together. So continue to provide and encourage shared experiences, even if it’s just for five minutes. Be the spark residents need to regain their sense of community.