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Tenants Want More Than Bad News

Office landlord strategy for positive communication

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“I have good news and bad news, which do you want to hear first?” When presented with the two options, choices vary but, according to psychology studies, the majority of people want to hear the bad news first. Part of the reason is biological, as bad news increases heart rates and people are known to seek out adrenaline. However, as tenants venture back into offices, bad news is the last thing they want to hear. How can office landlords get and hold the attention of their tenants with serious topics while keeping it an overall positive experience?

Building the right strategy to give tenants what they need to know as well as offering information they may want to know can help bring people back to the office and build excitement about the community. Like is common in media and marketing, landlords need to “hook” their tenants with something critical and then keep them by continuing to offer useful and appealing content.

There is no lack of access to news thanks to the internet and push notifications but the negative effects of doomscrolling can make people want to hide from it. This act of obsessively reading bad news despite growing feelings of anxiety and depression became common nomenclature this year. The negative effects of continuous bad news are not a new discovery. A study of Americans following the Boston Marathon bombings revealed those who engaged with more than six hours of media coverage a day were nine times more likely to experience symptoms of stress compared to those who watched minimal news. Looking at recent years, “it can feel as though we’ve lurched from one crisis to another this year before we’ve even had time to recover or process what happened,” said Roxane Cohen Silver, a research psychologist at the University of California, Irvine. But is this what people want and do they want it from their tenant experience app?

These apps can be a foundation from which community can grow.

To truly understand what people want communicated from their tenant experience app, Equiem, a tenant experience platform, asked occupiers. Twenty percent of respondents wanted regular updates and notifications about building policies and sixteen percent requested one place to access up-to-date information about building policies. Thirty-eight percent of respondents wanted COVID-19 updates about the building. It comes as no surprise that important health matters are a top priority for tenants but these apps are much more than loudspeakers for potentially bad news. These apps can be a foundation from which community can grow.

Knowing what people want to have communicated to them is a keystone of building a landlord’s communication strategy. A good, engaging communication plan comprises various types of content across desired themes. Fourteen percent of respondents requested information about competitions with an equal percentage requesting good news stories. With the growth of hybrid work, remote-working tips and content were also in demand, followed closely by virtual wellness events, and virtual social and community events.

An overwhelming majority (73 percent) want the office to be a hub for community, according to the 2021 Global Office Tenant Report which surveyed 3,200 occupants in the U.S., the UK, Ireland, and Australia. Landlords understand they’re no longer just providing a place to do work but are providing a place that a healthy community can grow. Community is a shared space where people feel connected to each other and possibly to a greater cause that fosters beneficial feelings within individuals. A tenant experience app can be the common thread between any tenant regardless of their role or when they’re in the office and the landlord.

Much like access control can act as a gateway technology for smarter buildings and better tenant experiences, good communication starts as a necessity but grows into a well-thought-out strategy. Landlords shouldn’t act on gut feelings but should ask tenants how they’re feeling and what they want to know via surveys or similar methodologies. After the basics are covered, the fun can begin.

Landlords have the unique opportunity to make their tenant experience app the trusted source of must-know information and then build upon that for other reasons for people to go to the app. Creating a space that uplifts and empowers people to become healthier and happier as well as connects them to those around them is not something just anyone can do. Beyond access to tenants, another reason is the lack of available time as it’s not easy to curate resources about topics tenants want to know about. Options like Equiem’s Engage Marketplace offer often-requested content feeds such as health and well-being and let landlords add them to the platform so everything tenants want is in one place.

Promoting positivity through a careful communication strategy can create a domino effect in the office, making people want to stay longer and come back tomorrow. The hybrid work environment is the right answer for some, but others crave the community and sense of belonging that comes with being in close physical proximity with others. Friends at work see a professional side of individuals that even family and close friends are unlikely to see. The community that can build that bond is special.

There is no lack of communication channels from phones and text messaging to various apps like Slack, email, and even social media. However, having one place to go for critical updates as well as positive, community-building updates is attractive and dependable. “Without a tenant experience platform, and a central hub for knowledge and information, you must use traditional routes and hope that your communications reach your intended audiences,” explained The Welcome Back Solution eBook by Equiem.

By offering and providing a trusted platform for news as well as ways to optimize the tenant experience, landlords have the technology available to give tenants what they want. Integrating outside events, stores, and more via the app can change the building from an isolated ecosystem into part of the larger community. As tenants begin to feel like they belong, the office will benefit from the loyalty and feelings of joy. We’re in this largely uncharted territory together but with the right plan about what to do next, we’ll be able to look back, acknowledge the bad, and happily move forward with the good.

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