August, 2 2022 Published by South Saskatchewan Chapter - By Connie Pappas-Boccitto
Creating Community After Covid
From the Summer 2022 issue of CCI Toronto Condovoice Magazine, Volume 26, Issue Number 4
The Last Word
Needless to say, Covid has impacted every aspect of our lives over the past two-plus years. In the housing market particularly, due to the majority of people working from home for so long, there was somewhat of an exodus out of the condo world, particularly for those who were looking for more living space, both indoor/outdoor, and for those whose jobs went virtual – this caused even more pressure on the single-family home market, in Toronto, and the entire GTA. Commute times no longer mattered as much since the walk from your bedroom to your laptop was much shorter than any drive to the office.
Now that return-to-work policies are being created and implemented, what does this mean for the real estate market? Are companies going to continue to be 100% virtual? Back to the office? A hybrid option depending on the employer? We've started to see a resurgence of interest in downtown living, and for those who wish to live in Toronto, particularly first-time home buyers, or young families, based on price point, it's typically a condo where they'll start.
Given that the demographics of condos is changing, coupled with the fact that one's home has turned into a place they do more in that just 'live,' how can your Board better serve this new way of life?
It is a prudent exercise for board members to realize that there have been significant lifestyle changes due to Covid - it has changed the way we operate in our homes. It's not only a place to live and sleep, but also a place to work, to exercise, to relax, to escape, to cook….and for some, the workfrom- home model could be a permanent change.
Is your community's current offering best serving your residents? How can you as board members ensure that your community serves its residents? If there are opportunities to add or improve the services and amenities or make changes to those that no longer serve your current demographic, it's important to seek these out.
I dare to suggest that 'Community' is the new amenity. Not only do residents want to have peaceful enjoyment of their home and comfortable conditions and wellmaintained properties but providing services and amenities to cater to like-minded residents helps to create that sense of community. Perhaps you may want to cater to the demographics of those who may not have previously considered having to live and work in the same space.
Services and amenities are quickly becoming an important way to facilitate a sense of community – are there programs and events that you can adopt to add value to your resident experience? Communication through newsletters, town hall meetings, elevator notices, along with tailored events and services based on the resident base (yoga classes, movie nights, bingo, shuttle bus transportation, to name a few). Perhaps you want to repurpose a library and turn it into a business centre with a coffee bar for those who now find themselves working from home.
Get creative, think outside of the box, and think about what small (or large) changes will make a difference to the everyday resident experience especially since the everyday experience has shifted so significantly over the past two years.
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