Work / Live / Stay: How should residential developers and operators be adapting?

Sep 26, 2022

  1. Understand and cater to “work from anywhere.”

As companies evolve towards a “work from anywhere” strategy, and in-person presenteeism progressively fades, it prompts a fundamental change in lifestyle and the relationship employees have with their homes.

For example, it affords people the freedom to travel in order to make the most of the company’s remote working policy - a benefit that companies themselves now actively promote as a key differentiator in the battle to attract and retain talent.

Consequently, people are expected to fall into one of two categories; those who want to retain a primary residence whilst they’re away, and those who prefer the flexibility of being able to move from one place to the next without having a primary home as an anchor.

In the case of urban multifamily and co-living buildings, this prompts a number of questions and challenges:

  1. How can you evolve your current model to offer residents this type of lease flexibility, and what is the economic impact of doing so (i.e. at an asset level)? What upside does it create?

  2. As workers become increasingly transient, demand from visiting professionals for short and mid-term leases is expected to increase significantly. As a residential operator, how can you tap into this effectively? What tools are needed?

  3. What are the risk and possible economic impacts of not evolving your current model to offer residents new leasing structures that accommodate increased flexibility in a competitive rental market?

  1. Seek to accommodate an emerging class of commuter

As businesses adopt a “remote-first” culture, employees will likely only be required to attend certain key events and meetings in person at their corporate HQ.

These might be weekly, fortnightly, or monthly depending on the company’s chosen strategy. Without the need to commute daily, however, several workers are expected to trade in urban living entirely so that they can benefit from a more rural alternative offering a lower cost, and better quality of life.

This doesn’t kill the city commute entirely, but it does change it fundamentally. There’s an emerging class of commuters; the predominantly remote executive who travels to the city frequently (on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis), and seeks on-demand, functional, well-located, hassle-free accommodation for short stays. Because this is a regular and ongoing need, this class of commuters is likely to be sensitive to price and favour lower-cost alternatives to traditional hotel accommodation. At the same time, they will likely be inclined to spend on food and experiences whilst away from home - their newfound rural idyll will be rather more limited than the urban life they left behind, resulting in pent-up demand when they travel to the city.

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