Multifamily property managers are facing a unique challenge today – how to cultivate a sense of community and wellbeing among their residents when their safety is dependent on physical distance? The recent outbreak of Covid-19 in our area and across the world has created an immediate need for social distancing to stop the spread of the virus. In response, property managers have been forced to close building amenities, restrict access to common areas, and cancel social events to protect their residents. Property managers face the daunting task of figuring out ways to keep a sense of community without face-to-face social interaction. To help, we have come up with a list of ways to help residents feel connected, combat loneliness, and spread a little cheer while still following social distancing guidelines during these very uncertain times.
Community Message Boards:
- Stationary or fun postcards for residents to post encouraging notes on a community message board. A small station could be set up in the mailroom or a common area that residents could use to write out their notes. The stationary and postcards could also be for external mailing, encouraging people to reach out to friends/family or “adopt” a local retirement or nursing home that all their letters go to.
Provide great treats or a meal to residents without having to make physical contact:
- With local businesses or restaurants to see if they can create individually packaged treats or meals that could be delivered to resident’s doors. Another fun way to hand out treats could be by creating a cart (think of something resembling an ice cream truck) that goes down corridors and stops at each door.
Send something to cheer to up their space:
- The way you could do this is to drop-off a house plant or a cute succulent to each resident’s door with a nice note. The note could say something like, “here is something to cheer up your home until we can all be together again.”
Performances or classes that tenants can view from their balconies or windows:
- A man in Spain recently made headlines for teaching a yoga class from his rooftop to comply with social distancing orders. Exercise classes, musical performances, or even an interactive game are all ideas that people could view from a distance.
Curate virtual events that residents can tune into from their living rooms:
- Now, technology is more critical than ever. Take advantage of virtual platforms like Zoom to host a virtual happy hour or wine tasting, have someone teach a painting or exercise class, or host a weekly book club. There are all kinds of virtual events that could be created to help residents feel connected and get a sense of social interaction.
Community-wide competitions or scavenger hunts:
- A door decorating contest and have residents vote for their favorite one, send out daily trivia questions, create a community-wide scavenger hunt, or have residents submit photos or videos for an “America’s Funniest Quarantine Videos” themed contest. There is nothing like a little friendly competition to help people take their minds off things for a bit.
Get residents involved with helping out the greater community:
- A fundraiser or a canned food drive that could go to an organization or person in need is a way tenants can feel like they are contributing to the community without leaving their homes.
About the Author:
Courtney Bradshaw is a design intern currently finishing her MFA in Interior Architecture at Corcoran at GWU.