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Spike Global Selects Dorset Mind as its Charity of the Year for 2023

Spike Global is proud to select Dorset Mind as its Charity of the Year for 2023. 


Mental health affects so many people from all walks of life; our friends, families, colleagues and neighbours. According to Mind, 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem of some kind each year in England. With 1 in 6 reporting experiencing a common mental health problems (such as anxiety and depression) in any given week.


Whilst many of us are fortunate to have a support network, not everyone is so lucky, and mental health can often go untreated and undetected.


Based in Bournemouth, Dorset Mind educates, challenges mental health stigma and inequality; and encourages recovery by empowering people to develop resilience. Their 1-2-1 and group support includes befriending, counselling, groups, and mentoring for adults and young people. Their training team delivers educational wellbeing for workplaces including the official Mental Health First Aid (MHFA). There are also volunteer opportunities across the charity.

Connecting communities and bringing people together is at the heart of what we do here at Spike Global. This year, as a company, we are committing to taking part in a number of fundraising events and charity initiatives to enable Dorset Mind to continue to raise awareness and provide support for mental health in our communities.


Keep an eye out for our collaborative blogs with helpful advice on how property managers can raise mental health awareness in their communities, updates on the various challenges we will be undertaking as a company, and the positive impact that Dorset Mind is having.


You can learn more about Dorset Mind and find ways to support the work they are doing here.

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How Operators Can Help Residents Tackle ‘Blue Monday’ 

Combine post-Christmas blues with the rising cost of living, and you have a recipe for a rather dismal January!


Taking inspiration from our clients, we’ve come up with some ideas that can be used to encourage a not-so-blue January and bring more positivity into your developments.

1. Establish Online Wellness Clubs and Forums

Across our client base, we’ve seen online meditation clubs, forums encouraging gratitude and positivity, to general social clubs, enabling residents to build real-life support networks right on their doorsteps. What’s more, research by Apartment Life found that the more friends a resident has within their building, the more likely they are to renew their tenancy.


By utilising our award-winning resident engagement portal, Spike Living, property managers can provide a secure and safe place online that is only accessible by genuine residents, ensuring that residents are not at risk from scammers and strangers. 

2. Digitally Bookable Fitness Classes 

According to Mind UK, there are numerous studies that reveal how physical exercise can improve mental health, from lifting moods, to improving sleep and a great way to connect with others. It’s no surprise that fitness classes were the most popular events to take place across our client developments last year! 


By utilising Spike Living, residents can view and book available fitness classes within a few taps, all from the comfort and convenience of their homes. Spike Living also allows events and fitness classes to be ticketed and chargeable, providing an additional revenue stream for property managers.

3. Hold Wellness Events and Workshops

Yoga and meditation workshops became the norm during the pandemic and have continued to grow in popularity ever since. One of our clients introduced ‘Meditate Mondays’, which had an attendance of over 1,000 residents in 2022 – yoga classes in total across our client base were attended by over 6,000 residents in the same year!


To combat loneliness and isolation, property managers could hold coffee mornings, Mindfulness Mondays, or provide in-person social networking opportunities to bring residents together.


Spread awareness of these events and workshops via our Spike Living portal to increase attendance!

4. Virtual or In-Person Mental Health Sessions 

Often having someone to talk to in a professional setting can make it easier to discuss anxieties or concerns. In some of our client developments, on site counselling sessions were offered for free or at a discounted rate, and all bookable via the Spike Living portal


Partner with local or established psychologists to connect residents to licenced professionals, whether via virtual consultations or in a dedicated on-site room.


We also worked with clients to implement a dedicated area within their Spike Living portal to provide residents with quick and easy access to a wide range of content from advice around mindfulness, managing emotional wellbeing, as well as providing a simple way for residents to ask for help, alerting on-site teams of anxiety attacks or residents needing immediate help.

5. Amenities Dedicated to Mental Wellness

Provide residents with a dedicated area within their building, such as meditation rooms or wellness studios, giving residents the opportunity to get away from everyday stresses and find peace within their own buildings.


To raise awareness and encourage use of these dedicated rooms, property management regularly promoted availability of these amenities on the Spike Living portal.


Summary

Turn January from a sombre period to a month of new beginnings and opportunities, ensuring that residents feel supported and cared for. With resident experience arguably the most important element of any property offering, and a key factor when it comes to retaining residents, many property managers are now looking at how to provide additional value to ensure their developments stand out within an increasingly competitive rental market.

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4 Ways to Enhance Communication Within Your Building

Effective and transparent communication is an essential component in any successful relationship, and when it comes to property management, it’s no different. Having an easy way to communicate with residents ensures you are keeping them engaged and increasing the likelihood that they will renew their tenancy.


With this in mind, here’s four ways to enhance communication within your building.

1) Clubs and Forums

One of the easiest ways to ensure resident satisfaction and reduce resident turnover in your development is to provide opportunities for residents to engage by connecting them to their neighbours. Unlike traditional social media, Spike Living can only be accessed by residents, ensuring that they are talking with genuine residents in their building, without being at risk from scammers and strangers. 


Research by Apartment Life found that the more friends a resident has within their building, the more likely they are to renew their tenancy. Without any friends living in their community, residents only have a 29% chance of renewing. That number jumps to 38% if they have 1-3 friends, and if they have 7 or more friends, there’s a 47% likelihood that they’ll renew.


The Clubs feature in Spike Living gives residents the opportunity to meet others within their building who share similar interests. From book clubs, to gaming clubs or even cultural clubs, residents can find a sense of belonging – often leading to longer tenancies. Through Forums, residents are able to engage in community discussions, share recommendations and further promote a sense of community within the building.

 2) Events

A great way to encourage in-person communication in buildings is through organising events. Spike Living enables both staff and residents to organise their own events to encourage gatherings and social interaction between each other.


From icebreakers for university students to Christmas parties, organising events can bring residents together and further boost resident engagement, helping residents to feel truly part of the community.


Spike Living also allows events to be ticketed and chargeable, allowing staff to easily understand what events are getting the most engagement, and how many residents to expect, as well as providing an opportunity to raise additional revenue.

3) Staff Communication

According to NMHC and Kinglsey’s 2020 Apartment Resident Preferences Report, 31% of residents who do not choose to renew their tenancy are seeking better apartment management. 


Communication with residents can be enhanced through a variety of features within the Spike Living portal. From push notifications informing residents about important maintenance and safety announcements to enabling residents to directly message the concierge or reception staff, encouraging faster responses.


By offering residents a mobile portal, you are providing them with a central place to communicate with you. Rather than being constantly bombarded with phone calls or emails,  you can simply review and respond to all queries that have come through via the portal.

4) Maintenance Communication

Having an easy way to report issues was seen as a key contributor to resident satisfaction, as referenced in almost 1 in every 5 reviews according to HomeViews 2021 Build to Rent report.


One of the most time-consuming parts of a property manager’s job is the handling of maintenance issues, with minor issues turning into major ones if they aren’t dealt with quickly and efficiently. Without an easy and simple way for residents to report maintenance issues, they can often go unreported.


Resident portals like Spike Living speed up the communication in these instances and allow residents to quickly provide your maintenance staff with a clear picture of the task ahead, with residents even able to attach photos of the issue so maintenance staff can diagnose the fault ahead of time, increasing the likelihood of fixing the issue in their first visit.

Summary

As competition within the rental sector increases, communication and customer service will play an ever-important role. Developments that do not offer an easy way for residents to easily communicate with staff and each other run the risk of falling behind. Spike Living makes communication within developments much easier and more efficient than ever, ultimately improving resident satisfaction and reducing turnover.


Want to learn how our award-winning Spike Living resident engagement portal can enhance communication and resident satisfaction in your property? Request a one-to-one demo below!

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How PBSA Operators Can Help International Students Settle into University Life

Going to university for any young person is a huge step, which although comes with excitement, for many it can also be accompanied by anxiety. International students face an additional level of apprehension; moving hundreds or even thousands of miles away from their homes and loved ones, often dealing with the struggles of a second language and differences in culture, not to mention the pressures of academic success.


With over 605,100 international students residing in student accommodation across the UK (and growing), according to research by the House of Commons, providing a sense of belonging to those recently arriving in the UK to study has become imperative.


According to Student Minds’ latest report, a staggering 81% of international students reported mental wellbeing as a top concern, with 68% stating that making friends was their biggest issue at university. Loneliness has been found to be one of the leading causes of students dropping out, however, PBSA operators have the opportunity to improve resident retention by putting measures in place to mitigate the pressures faced by the international student cohort.


Additionally, acculturative stress is also a challenge that many international students have to grapple with, on top of the regular pressures of university life, all whilst dealing with culture shock and language barriers.


So how can PBSA operators help mitigate these pressures to improve the university experience of international students? 

1) Host Events

PBSA operators can host events to help them settle in, from providing informative events specifically for international students to ice-breaker events in order for them to have a few familiar faces to kick off their university experience with.


By using Spike Living, operators can easily and efficiently promote their onsite events directly to their residents, even understanding in advance how many attendees to expect.

2) Create Communities Through Clubs and Forums

Allow students to find and engage with others who share similar interests within their building, such as creating a gaming, football or book club. By using our Spike Living portal, accommodation providers can ensure students are able to feel part of the community and make friends from the offset. Once students get to know each other online, they can then branch out and make plans to meet up in the real world. As Spike Living caters exclusively for building residents, it offers a safer alternative to groups on Facebook or other prominent social media, which are more easily infiltrated by spammers and strangers.


Additionally, through developing cultural societies, international students can develop a sense of a home-away-from-home, and the ability to feel close to their roots even in a different country. Celebrate cultural holidays such as Eid, Diwali, and Chinese New Year to ensure students still feel the same excitement for cultural holidays as they do back home.

3) Allow stress-free communication with the onsite team 

Moving to a different country can be a daunting experience for those who particularly struggle with confidence when speaking a different language. Having the ability to message staff directly without needing to speak face-to-face can take away the stress that can sometimes come from trying to engage in conversation.


Spike Living enables these students to confidently contact reception or log a maintenance request all via a smartphone app. This reduces the likelihood of maintenance issues escalating due to a miscommunication between students and staff.

4) Introduce students to the local area

Much like local students moving to a new city, international students have often reported feeling ‘lost’ in their first year due to not knowing their new area. To make the experience less stressful, and to help them settle into their new home quicker, the ‘Around Me’ feature in the Spike Living portal allows students to easily see how to get to their campuses, local GPs, university facilities, and other points of interest around them.


Operators can even team up with local businesses to offer special discounts to their residents on anything from hairdressers, and coffee shops, to local bars and restaurants, all of which can be promoted to residents and driven through the Spike Living portal. This can help international students feel special and part of a community.



Summary

With the number of international students expected to continue to grow over the coming years, PBSA operators must find new ways to engage and help them feel at home. Spike Living can help turn what can be a stressful experience, into an experience they can enjoy.