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Innovative partnership to create a complete BTR resident communication solution

Promising an enhanced resident experience and a smarter, more efficient building operation, the new partnership between Spike Global and Fixflo will deliver a seamless property communication and maintenance management solution for BTR residents and property managers alike.

Industry-leading resident engagement and building management software provider Spike Global and specialist repairs and maintenance management software provider, Fixflo have announced an integration partnership designed to provide a complete property communication and maintenance management solution for BTR operators and property managers.

The new partnership enables residents to manage everything within the Spike Living portal, from communicating with other residents to reporting a repair, getting notified about upcoming maintenance events, and managing deliveries and visitors. Empowered by Fixflo’s innovative and multilingual repair reporting system, residents will be prompted to give all necessary details about the maintenance issue from the first instance, enabling property managers to diagnose issues accurately without the need for back-and-forth communication with residents.

Jeremy Heath-Smith, CEO at Spike Global, highlighted the expected operational gains for building operators, another key driver behind the integration plan, “We are excited to be partnering with Fixflo, bringing together Spike’s leading resident engagement and building management software with Fixflo’s award-winning maintenance management solution. This will enable property managers to plan, schedule and carry out a repair much faster, whilst ensuring residents are kept up-to-date and informed at all times.”

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Spike Workplace to support ‘blended working’

A changing approach 

Almost a year into the pandemic, the vast majority of companies have had to adapt to new methods of working. Prior to the first lockdown in the UK, working from home was reserved for freelancers or viewed as a nice occasional perk. According to Property Week’s recent 2020 Power of Proptech survey, just 5.1% of the UK workforce worked primarily from home in 2019, despite improving technology making it a viable possibility. Fast forward twelve months and 82% of office providers and real estate companies are looking to invest in home working and digital meeting tools in the near future, indicating that in a post-pandemic world, a more flexible approach to working may become a reality.

With reports that companies like Microsoft are adopting a ‘hybrid’ working model, and some, such as Twitter, telling employees they can work from home permanently, never has technology been more important in bringing people together, helping to connect communities, families and employees while the world becomes increasingly disjointed. 

Promote a connected culture

In response to the ongoing pandemic, Spike Global has launched its new Spike Workplace application. The software helps companies and landlords promote a connected culture while the majority of office-based employees are working from home. The software will also help companies and landlords adapt to a ‘blended’ way of working moving forward, where we see employees cycle between remote and in-office working.

Spike’s workplace portal builds and manages buzzing, supportive communities where users can form meaningful connections. Companies can nurture the office culture virtually through social clubs, forums and events, keep occupants engaged with up-to-date news and articles and ensure they are as settled and supported as possible by offering health and well-being initiatives and support forums. Long-term social engagement to create a sense of wellbeing and identity is a key element of what the software provides.

Portal success with portico

Clients already include Portico, a leading guest relations and concierge company with more than 800 staff members dotted across 120 locations throughout the UK and Ireland. The firm wanted to launch an engagement platform linked to its own systems that connected its entire workforce and acted as a platform for communicating company updates, events and initiatives. 

Amanda Baber, Director, Business Development at Portico, said: We had already planned to launch our engagement app in 2020 prior to the pandemic, which made it even more important for us to connect with our people, who were working at home, in the office or furloughed. In a short space of time, we are already receiving hugely positive feedback from our staff members and real engagement in the forums and social groups, which we have created on the platform. We plan to add additional functionality to our app to further embed a culture that empowers our people.”

Increase efficiencies 

Spike Workplace is designed to make the workplace more efficient for employees, business owners and landlords, whether staff are currently operating physically or remotely. Company owners or landlords and their employees and tenants can benefit from the flexible, user-centric technology that offers a seamless experience and multiple different functions, designed to connect a ‘blended’ workforce. The platform makes building management, analytics and reporting easy, while residents can book meetings, meeting rooms and hot-desks, check-in their guests, track their deliveries and book additional services. Senior teams or front-of-house staff can keep employees informed and up to date with the latest workplace announcements, including any change in regulations or restrictions.

With an increasing focus on mental health and employee well-being, users can also use the platform to reach out to their colleagues for help and support, making their busy lives easier and increasing welfare. Spike has also partnered with The Health Concierge to offer further health and wellness support, with users being able to access content directly from the app.

Jeremy Heath-Smith, CEO of Spike, comments: “Since the start of the pandemic, companies have had to make significant changes to the way they operate in order to survive and those who have managed to adapt have been the most successful. It’s great to see our software helping during this difficult time, and while our working and personal lives are brought closer together our goal is to create better places for people to work and live, even when these are .” 

Jeremy concludes: “At Spike, flexibility is key to our success. We strive to understand the shift in how employees interact with each other since the pandemic began and what this means for how they’ll interact in the future. Ultimately, our software improves efficiencies in the workplace. For example, we offer specific COVID-19 forums for each of our clients where users can offer or ask for help from their colleagues. We have an information centre posting COVID-19 updates, sourcing only reliable government links and helpful advice. We have a recommended COVID-19 strategy for clients who use Spike, whilst continually adapting that strategy to the changing circumstances we find ourselves in. As and when we move out of lockdown we’ll help clients adapt to a hybrid way of working, as employees cycle between remote and in-office working.”

To find out more about our Workplace portal, complete the enquiry form below and a consultant will be touch shortly.

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Resident Engagement Strategy: 6 things your teams need to consider

Resident engagement and resident satisfaction have never been higher on the priority lists of property developers, operators and managers. Many teams are taking the disruption of the pandemic as an opportunity to re-evaluate their resident engagement strategies, tools and software. To be successful, theses strategies need to have your resident at their core.

Our Customer Success Team have put together 6 questions to consider when thinking about resident engagement.

QUESTIONS FOR YOUR TEAMS TO CONSIDER WHEN THINKING ABOUT RESIDENT ENGAGEMENT STRATEGIES 

  1. Are your current tools increasing connections between staff and residents, to increase resident satisfaction?

     

  2. How do your residents want to interact with your staff? Face-to-face? Instant messaging? Email? Which channel gets a better response?

     

  3. Are queries being answered quickly enough? Do residents feel heard and supported by your staff? What tools and / or software could be used to support this?

     

  4. Are your current tools increasing connections between residents? How can they get to know their neighbours? How do they want to get to know neighbours? What social activity are your residents looking for?

     

  5. From enquiry, to move-in, to renewal, how are you adjusting your communication to make each resident feel valued? How are you delivering a premium service at each stage?

     

  6. Are you able to get data and feedback about all aspects of your performance to continue to deliver exceptional service? What tools and software could help you with this?

SPIKE LIVING AND RESIDENT ENGAGEMENT 

Spike Global delivers industry-leading software that connects people and properties to create attractive, efficient and engaging places for living, working and playing. Spike Living has all the features and flexibility you need to delight your residents and empower your staff, with a bespoke residential app and a fully operational management dashboard.

Spike Living consistently delivers market-leading results across key metrics including resident engagement and retention. Our software allows you to streamline building management, deliver a thriving community, drive actionable insights and increase the value of your assets.

To find out more about Spike Living download our brochure below.

 

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Employee Engagement needs to be top of Business Leaders’ Priority Lists

As Covid-19 continues to disrupt the landscape of work, business leaders are still searching for ways to adapt to the new normal. A year into the pandemic, most workforces are still separated. Businesses are struggling to keep employee engagement high and workforces happy and healthy.

There is little doubt that the pandemic will have wide reaching and long-lasting consequences on the patterns of work. Consequently, businesses have found practical solutions that keep companies running smoothly outside of the office: Zoom, /Teams, Slack. Moreover, some businesses have even seen this disruption as an opportunity to take a new innovative approach to their digital transformation strategies, and will continue to embrace remote / flexible working once restrictions lift. However, where organisations are falling short is employee engagement, employee support and company culture.

In years past, company culture was largely built in and around the office. It was obvious where and who people could reach out to for help, if employees were struggling. Many organisations took great pride in their company culture, embedding their company values and beliefs into every corner of the office. From wellness rooms, to excellent coffee. From desk drinks on a Friday to free yoga and meditation classes. Many organisations delivered a lifestyle to their employees, not just a job.

This changing landscape left many organisations scrambling to maintain a compelling company culture and positive employee engagement.

Effects of the pandemic and remote work

The unexpected transition to remote work was extremely disruptive to company culture and employee engagement. A year on, theses struggles still exist. Many employees feel disconnected from the organisations they work for, as all their support systems were ingrained into the physical office space and proximity to colleagues. Lifestyle benefits get lost in the remote translation. Include also the added stress employees are under due to the pandemic, and the landscape for employee engagement is certainly a challenging one.

Why is employee engagement important?

Early research into the health implications of the pandemic in relation to mental health specifically, suggest employees were reporting reduced motivation, loss of purpose and motivation, anxiety and isolation. All factors which make employee engagement ever more important, and equally challenging.

According to a study by Gallup, employees who are engaged are 21% more productive. This takes into consideration a number of factors including better employee health, happiness and satisfaction. From an organisation perspective more productivity means lower absenteeism, higher retention and better customer service.

What should organisations be prioritising?

Organisations need to focus their efforts on building a culture of resilience within their workforces. Equipping their staff with the right skills, support systems and infrastructure in order to recover and thrive.

A recent study shows that people with close work friends were 96% more likely to say they felt “extremely satisfied with life”. Marissa King, professor of organisational behaviour at Yale, tells Axios that work friends can even boost our “sense of purpose and our intrinsic sense of motivation”. In a time where face-to-face interactions with colleagues is extremely difficult organisations should focus on digital solutions that connect their workforce socially. Moving forward encouraging employee friendships will be paramount. Research suggests that employees expect work to be a more social environment when offices do start re-opening. Social engagement will be a big reason people to start to return to the office. Therefore, organisations need to be laying down the groundwork for social connections and friends now. 

Alongside Spike’s social forums and clubs, we have seen customers setup peer-to-peer support groups within their Spike Workplace portals, where employees can offer advice and support to one another. Employees have been using this area to reach out for support and engage with peers outside of work. 

Another important aspect to consider is health and wellness. A recent JLL study finds employees now prioritise work-life balance over a comfortable salary, and three out of four expect their employer to support their health, wellbeing and even nutrition. Organisations should be evaluating how they create a better work-life balance and looking into tools and services which can help.

Furthermore, organisations should be using their company vision and mission as a guide to get employees through these challenging times. Employees need to be reassured that their organisations are making the right decisions at the right time. Forbes notes that employees will be more engaged and feel more connected and motivated knowing that their leaders have a proactive plan to keep the company on track. Consistent, cohesive communication is key and organisations will need to find effective communication channels. 

SPIKE WORKPLACE AND THE NEW WAY OF WORKING

In response to the ongoing pandemic, Spike Global has just launched its new Spike Workplace application. The software helps companies and landlords promote a connected culture while the majority of office-based employees are working from home. The software will help companies and landlords adapt to a ‘blended’ way of working moving forward. Where we see employees cycle between remote and in-office working.

Spike’s workplace portal builds and manages buzzing, supportive communities where users can form meaningful connections. Companies can nurture the office culture virtually through social clubs, forums and events, keep occupants engaged with up-to-date news and articles. Importantly, employers can ensure staff are as settled and supported as possible by offering preventative health and well-being initiatives and support forums. Spike have also partnered with well-being provider Antidote, to offer further well-being services directly from their portal. 

Long-term social engagement to create a sense of wellbeing and identity is a key element of what the software provides.

To find out more about our Workplace portal, complete the enquiry form below and a consultant will be touch shortly.

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Resident Engagement Series: Transparency & feedback

Best Practice Resident Engagement

To engage with residents, property operators must focus on connecting their communities – connecting residents to staff, connecting residents to one another, connecting residents to the wider local community, and connecting residents to their buildings. However, the key to successful, long-term resident engagement is understanding your residents’ needs, and pain-points and acting proactively.  

Pro-active resident engagement 

To optimise your resident engagement success you’ll need to find ways for your teams to listen to residents. With this information, you’ll want to personalise your approach by predicting initiatives that will be most effective, for example: events, additional services, promotions etc. Data is key here, as research indicates that 80% of CEOs believe they deliver a superior customer experience, yet only 8% of their customers agree. Indicating a gap between what companies think their customers want, and what they want in reality. 

Feedback is part of our everyday lives. Reviews will have influenced your residents’ decision in where to live. They influence your resident’s decision on whether to renew. So to build a compelling resident engagement strategy, it’s fundamental to understand where you stand with your residents at all times. Once you have the data you can identify areas that need improvement, or areas that are working well. Once these areas are identified you can act before they become problematic. This will boost your resident loyalty and improve your relationship with residents. 

Transparency 

In our opinion all feedback, is good feedback. In order to keep on top of resident satisfaction you’ll need to hear the negative feedback too. Some of our customers have chosen to host ‘I’m happy’ and ‘I’m not happy’ forums on their Spike resident portals. This gives residents a clearly defined forum to voice their opinion, and gives property operators an area to reply and demonstrate changes they are making. 

Even the most proactive operator will have problems and complaints, however it is vital residents have an area to voice concerns and feel they are heard and are being listened to. By asking for honest feedback, your residents will feel they have a voice within your community. An engaged, loyal group of residents are likely to be more forgiving and understanding if mistakes do happen, and decreases the likelihood of these mistakes affecting retention levels.

Increase the success of your marketing 

The benefits of listening to your residents go beyond resident satisfaction and retention. Once you truly understand what’s important to residents you can use these insights in future marketing campaigns to attract new residents, increasing revenue and maximising marketing budget. For example, if you know that the dog walking club within your development is extremely popular, you’d be sure to include this perk in your monthly marketing newsletter or run a marketing campaign focussing on the best dog friendly developments. Research by McKinsey has found that personalising your marketing can deliver 5 – 8 x more ROI on marketing spend.

Spike Living and Resident Engagement 

Spike Global delivers industry-leading software that connects people and properties to create attractive, efficient and
engaging places for living, working and playing. Spike Living has all the features and flexibility you need to delight your residents and empower your staff, with a bespoke residential app and a fully operational management dashboard.

Spike Living consistently delivers market-leading results across key metrics including resident engagement and retention. Our software allows you to streamline building management, deliver a thriving community, drive actionable insights and increase the value of your assets.

To find out more about how Spike could help your business, simply submit the form below and a member of the team will be in touch shortly.

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The move towards a ‘blended’ way of working

According to Property Week’s 2020 Power of Proptech survey, just 5.1% of the UK workforce worked primarily from home in 2019, despite improving technology making it a viable possibility. Fast forward twelve months and working from home has become the norm. Although a recent survey found that three in five British employees are itching to get back to the office , many participants say they would like to work from home more often once the pandemic is over. Also, 82% of real-estate companies and office providers are looking to invest in home working and digital meeting tools in the near future, also according to Property Week’s 2020 Power of Proptech survey. 

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR THE FUTURE OF WORK? 

It’s reported that companies like Microsoft and Google will be adapting a ‘hybrid’ working model of three days in the office, and two days from home. Other companies, such as Twitter, are telling employees that they can work from home permanently, if they wish. What we’ll see once lockdowns lift, is a blended pattern of working. Employees will cycle between in office and at home working. 

The shift towards flexible working, experts say, hasn’t appeared only because of the pandemic. Companies for years have considered adapting policies to suit their modern workforce and better support the work life balance. What has held a lot of companies back in the past, was the flexibility vs productivity debate. A debate which has been largely been put to bed over the last 12 months. 

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR THE FUTURE OF THE OFFICE?

A recent JLL survey of 2,000 office workers in 10 countries shows that while work will change, the office is to remain the bedrock of working life. 74% of respondents want the ability to come into an office, albeit not every day. Interestingly, almost half of surveyed employees expect offices to have social areas in the future. Indicating that they want to spend time with co-workers outside of traditional work. 

CHANGING ATTITUDES

This aligns with the shift towards prioritising employee health and wellbeing, driven by a shift in attitude from employees. According to further JLL research, employees now prioritise work-life balance over a comfortable salary. Three out of four expect their employer to support their health and wellbeing.

Research by employee benefits provider Unum has found 86% of UK employers surveyed are also changing their approach to wellbeing in light of the current pandemic. 95% of employers say it has impacted their need to make people employees feel more protected and supported. Many employers say they are to focus their health and wellbeing strategies on preventative measures, like mental health advice and support.

SPIKE WORKPLACE AND THE NEW WAY OF WORKING

In response to the ongoing pandemic, Spike Global has just launched its new Spike Workplace application. The software helps companies and landlords promote a connected culture while the majority of office-based employees are working from home. The software will help companies and landlords adapt to a ‘blended’ way of working moving forward. Where we see employees cycle between remote and in-office working.

Spike’s workplace portal builds and manages buzzing, supportive communities where users can form meaningful connections. Companies can nurture the office culture virtually through social clubs, forums and events, keep occupants engaged with up-to-date news and articles. Importantly, employers can ensure staff are as settled and supported as possible by offering preventative health and well-being initiatives and support forums. Spike have also partnered with well-being provider Antidote, to offer further well-being services directly from their portal. 

Long-term social engagement to create a sense of wellbeing and identity is a key element of what the software provides.

To find out more about our Workplace portal, complete the enquiry form below and a consultant will be touch shortly.

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Resident engagement series: What is resident engagement?

Before COVID 19, placemaking, community management and resident engagement was a topic beginning to rank higher on the priorities of developers, property managers and agents everywhere. 

Then… the pandemic happened and local community became ever-more important. 

What we are seeing now is a switch from community being seen as a luxury to being seen as a necessity, by both developers and residents. Across our portfolio we’ve seen social engagement increase dramatically over the last 12 months.

Which is why we have put together a series of articles to help the industry prioritise and grow their resident engagement strategies, to meet the changing needs of residents and potential residents. 

WHAT IS RESIDENT ENGAGEMENT?

Resident Engagement is a strategy focused on increasing connections between your property offering, and your residents. Resident engagement represents the levels of enthusiasm and connection residents have with the places they choose to live. It’s a measure of how residents positively interact with activity connected to your property, and a sign of how committed they are to staying there. Importantly, it’s an outcome that depends on the actions lead by property operators, managers and or/owners.  

Initiatives can incorporate anything from social events, to software implementation, depending on your strategy and focus. The aim is to ensure residents are positively engaging, and are as emotionally connected to where they live, as possible.  

Some popular strategies property operators and owners focus on include: 

  • Keeping residents connected to on-site staff  
  • Creating community by connecting residents to one another 
  • Offering helpful, additional services to enhance residents day-to-day lives (e.g. Cleaning) 
  • Enhancing your online reputation 
  • Streamlining rental / purchasing journey   
  • Improving building management efficiency 
  • Improving the overall resident experience 

WHY IS RESIDENT ENGAGEMENT IMPORTANT?  

Resident Engagement goes hand-in-hand with increased resident satisfaction. Maintaining high tenant satisfaction is top priority for 97% of facility and real estate managers

It’s widely accepted that consumer satisfaction is essential to long-term business success, and is one of the most frequently researched topics in marketing (e.g. Jones & Suh, 2000; Pappu & Quester, 2006).  

More specifically, Research shows that resident engagement is essential for retaining residents. In a recent study, 77% of consumers say that engagement programs make them more likely to continue doing business with a brand. Positive resident engagement leads to signed renewalsincreased revenue and a better reputation.  

By embedding resident engagement tactics into your sales / rental processes it can directly affect new revenue also. It is widely accepted that satisfied consumers are less price sensitive, less influenced by competitors’ messaging and loyal to the firm longer than dissatisfied customers (Dimitriades, 2006).  

In 2021 the modern consumer expects more than just a place to live, and they are willing to shop around, and do their research to find what they’re looking for. Respondents rated the importance of the online reputation of the management company managing their development community at a high of 7.85 on a 10 point scale

To remain competitive, property operators, owners and managers must prioritise resident engagement to maximise retentionrevenue and reputation.

Resident engagement has become ever-more important over the last 12 months, as people are spending considerably more time at home. Social distancing measures also mean people are at a higher risk of loneliness, especially in single person households. By supporting your residents though these uncertain times, brand loyalty is built and will be remembered. Operators who go above and beyond for their residents will be the leaders of tomorrow.   

To find out more about how Spike could help improve your resident engagement, retention and reputation, simply submit your details below and a member of the team will be in touch shortly. 

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How PropTech brought communities together in 2020

Before Covid, placemaking and community involvement had become popular with developers, with Build To Rent (BTR) providers really leading the charge. Operators were hosting community parties, fitness classes and even community poker clubs, where residents could come together and get to know their neighbours. Resident engagement was a topic beginning to rank higher on the priorities of marketeers, agents and developers everywhere.

Furthermore, operators were looking to implement resident engagement PropTech to strengthen their strategies.

Then… BANG.

We find ourselves in a global pandemic. Travel was off the cards, interaction outside your household was limited and local community became ever-more important. Standing at our front-doors every Thursday evening to clap for the NHS and key-workers became a highlight, and seeing your neighbours doing the same thing was an important reminder that we were not alone.

Technology became a lifeline.

Businesses could run remotely, children could access vital education resources from home and we could keep in touch with loved ones. I’m also sure we can all relate with joining Facebook groups, following Instagram hashtags or finding locals on Twitter, wanting to feel more connected.

In the case of Spike’s residents, they took to their Spike Living portal. Spike’s Customer Success Team helped Providers put together lockdown strategies. This included the set-up of COVID specific forums for residents to support one another and find out important information. The forums showcased neighbours supporting neighbours within blocks and schemes and really helping each other through the crisis.

Toilet roll? Yes, I’ve got it – which number are you? I’ll leave it outside.

Anyone fancy a cupcake? I’ve baked 12, I’ll leave them in reception – enjoy!

How are people managing home schooling? I’m exhausted.

Anyone free for a zoom and a glass of wine?

We could see our communities coming into their own. Friendships were blossoming and more importantly residents were finding the support they needed.We saw community engagement across our portals rise by over 700% during the first lockdown.

As well as connecting residents to one another our portals kept residents connected to developers, property managers, concierge and front-of-house staff. With the aid of the app, communication lines and building management could still exist. With face-to-face interactions off the cards, it proved crucial.

Changing attitudes

We’ve received great feedback on the importance of our PropTech for residents and businesses alike. In our conversations since, we have spoken to many developers who cite PropTech like ours not as a luxury but as a necessity in developing homes and creating communities. Our client list has more than doubled in this period, which is testament to this.

When people come to search for their new home, it’s not all just about aesthetics or even the amenities. Residents are increasingly interested in the added bonuses – who are their neighbours, what is the community like, how good are the local services, what support is available and, by moving into a new home how it will add to their lifestyle.

Like everyone, we are continuing to reflect on the lessons of lockdown. Looking internally at how processes can be improved, how things can be streamlined to ensure our app is user friendly and current, and looking at ways we can increase efficiency.

As we head into a series of tiered systems and lockdowns, communities will once again rise as we tackle the hurdles ahead.

To find out more about how Spike could help connect your communities, simply submit your details below and a member of the team will be in touch shortly.