10 Ways to Keep Your Company Culture Thriving Remotely in the Face of COVID-19

Overnight, many companies have changed their operations from in-office to work-from-home in response to the spread of COVID-19. Remote work arrangements are not new, but because they may be unfamiliar to some employers and managers, there is an adjustment period as teams begin navigating this new way of conducting business. While some employees expect to thrive working remotely, others fear they’ll feel isolated or unmotivated to work in their own homes. Managers worry about keeping a team motivated and effective without daily face time in the office. Following are 10 recommendations to assist your company with recommendations for shifting culture that will have your employees successfully thriving in their new roles.

  1. Host a virtual happy hour. Drinks are optional but the web camera is not. Use this event as an opportunity to connect and let your hair down with your colleagues. If using Zoom, ask attendees to click on gallery view to see everyone and not just those who are speaking. Consider including an icebreaker activity or trivia to engage everyone in conversation. Consider use of additional technology like Poll Anywhere or Swift to ask attendees questions and track live results as a group. Engagement and fun are two key elements this event is sure to provide.
  2. Plan a fun-filled spirit week. This adds a fun twist when using video for meetings. Take it a step further by changing your background on zoom or adding themed décor each day. Besides, everyone is probably wearing pajamas so let’s give them a reason to get excited about their workday attire. This event is a welcome distraction from the mundane isolation.
  3. Create a virtual kudos jar. It’s important to spread joy and say thanks during this uniquely challenging time. Virtual kudos are like hugs but without touching. Kudos are public recognition of a colleague for something they have contributed to the team. There is no better way to motivate employees while also building comradery between colleagues and showing genuine appreciation for someone’s contributions. Make this fun by sending all kudos to one email and the host of the email will write them on paper, fill up a jar and draw each kudos on camera to read aloud to the group.
  4. Embrace flexibility, distractions and all. Don’t shun employees for a barking dog or crying child in the background. Many are not set up for remote working to begin with, much less adding on the stress and new circumstances created by this pandemic. Embrace the chaos and support your team members as they navigate this new normal.
  5. Set up coffee breaks and lunch dates. Virtually that is! Take time to connect and talk about things other than work. You’ll be surprised how much you have in common with others. It’s natural to pause your work, change your scenery and gather with colleagues over coffee or lunch at the office. To simulate office behavior, try doing the same only virtually. Create a channel on Slack, Microsoft teams or other communication platform of your choosing and call it something fun like ‘Lunch Bunch’ or ‘Coffee Chat.’ Intentionally create small groups allowing for deeper conversation where all voices are heard.
  6. Provide the best tech platform. Provide employees with technology tools that allow for collaboration and fun. A typical office environment develops its own personality through inside jokes, shared experiences and a collaborative environment. A remote team needs to develop something similar but in a virtual format. The easiest way to do this is with your day-to-day toolset.
  7. Be transparent in all communication. This is a scary time for most as we navigate uncharted territory. Having leaders in place that clearly and effectively communicate company updates and changes consistently helps employees to alleviate unnecessary work-related stress. Set clear expectations to include changes in policies and new work duties. Remind employees that change is inevitable but that you are there to support them during this time.
  8. Continue the investment. Investing in your employee’s education doesn’t stop during this time. In fact, now is a great time to introduce or reinforce self-paced training initiatives. Investing in professional development for your employees will assist in their skill set, confidence and overall performance in the future when this pandemic is over. The National Apartment Association Education Institute (NAAEI) offers an assortment of online courses and recorded webinars on Visto, available 24 hours a day. There is no better time than now to make the investment in your career by completing an industry credential program.
  9. Play music together. Music can enhance any mood, providing a positive experience while also increasing productivity. Create a shared music list on Spotify where everyone can add their favorite work music to share. Take this a step further by creating multiple playlists that assist with difficult projects, intense deadlines or even the day of the week.
  10. It’s all about balance. Encourage and promote balance whenever possible. Separating work from play can be difficult for many when both worlds occur in the same space. Encourage employees to take lunch breaks, long walks, disconnect after hours and even exercise. Underscore the importance of self-care during this time. It’s now more important than ever for maintaining good mental and physical health, so leaders should continue to support and encouraging healthy habits. Offer meditation or yoga as a group on video chat. Challenge team members to unplug during off business hours. Create a communication channel where tips can be shared for healthy snacks, easy exercising and mind relaxation.

Career Change Ideas for Jobs Lost Due to COVID-19

For some of us, the pandemic has brought a grim new reality. Unemployment rates have hit new records not seen since the Great Depression in the 1930s, and the impending economic crisis, possibly the worst we’ll ever experience, is something no one is looking forward to.

But—

Some of us took a bigger hit than others. 

Using a data science team, Zety looked at industries and professions with the highest job losses. They analyzed over 130 thousand real-life resumes created in their builder to unearth what alternative career paths people could transition to in a heartbeat.

Below is a quick rundown of Zety’s key findings:

  • Two most popular alternative careers for any profession.
  • Top five alternative career paths for each profession hit hardest by coronavirus: retail workers, dental office employees, film and TV production, actors and performance artists, food servers, chefs and cooks, hospitality and front-desk staff, flight attendants, real estate and property management workers.
  • Industries and careers least affected by the pandemic that are still hiring and are worth looking into.

Jobs Hit the Hardest by the COVID-19 Pandemic

We all know someone who’s lost their income source due to the pandemic.

Chances are, their job title fell under one of the following categories:

  • Retail clerks (53 percent)
  • Dental office staff (53 percent)
  • Film and TV production specialists (48.5 percent)
  • Food servers and waiters (48 percent)
  • Performing artists (45 percent)
  • Cooks and chefs (44 percent)
  • Hospitality and overall front-desk staff (42 percent)
  • Air transportation workers (39 percent)
  • Real estate and property management specialists (38 percent)

But—all isn’t lost.

Even if you held and lost a position in one of the said professions, you’ve probably accumulated a sweet blend of hard and soft skills that are transferable—skills many companies will bend over backwards to get.

In other words, there are alternative career paths you can transition into with ease.

Most Popular Alternative Careers for Any Profession

One of the first things the data science team at Zety noticed was that for each occupational group hit by COVID-19, two professions rose above the noise.

  • Administrative assistant
  • Customer service specialist

Why?

First, the two professions are extremely popular across the US (even amidst the wrecked economy), which means these jobs will remain in demand for the foreseeable future.

Secondly, customer service and administrative jobs have a reasonably low threshold because they mostly require soft skills (e.g., time management, communication, problem-solving.) Hence, regardless of whether you’re a retail specialist, a flight attendant, or anyone else who’s lost a job to COVID-19, there’s a good chance you’ll find new employment in an administrative or customer service role.

But—what if you don’t have “people skills”?

Zety thought of that. Keep scrolling to find robust alternative career paths if you’re struggling with finding employment amidst the COVID-19 crisis.

Alternative Career Paths for Most Affected Jobs

Retail Workers

For retail professionals that lost their source of income due to the crisis, Zety presented a few alternative career paths.

  1. Intern (most retail employees who successfully changed careers, started as interns in other industries.)
  2. Junior management (teamwork and leadership skills gained while working on a retail team can easily be transferred to a junior managerial position in another industry.)
  3. Accountant (operating cash registers, stocktaking, and basic budgeting learned in retail can be invaluable in an accounting job.)

Dental Office Employees

While it’s rather intuitive that dental-office employees can transition to other medical fields, there are also non-medical jobs they can consider, such as:

  1. Project manager
  2. Research assistant

Having tangible experience working in a fast-paced, technically complex environment makes it possible for dental professionals to apply their skills to one of the above-mentioned fields.

Film and TV production

As someone who works in video production, there’s a good chance you’re familiar with event management, digital marketing, cinematography, stage management, etc.

If you’ve been let go as a video production worker, you can use your transferable technical skills to transition into such careers as:

  1. Graphic designer
  2. Photographer
  3. Marketing specialist
  4. Account executive
  5. Writer

Food Service

What are the top five career alternatives for food-service specialists?

  1. Junior management (soft skills you’ve picked when getting new hires up to speed can quickly help you thrive in an entry-level assistant manager position.)
  2. English teacher (can be done online.)
  3. Driver (as long as you have a valid driver’s license.)
  4. Nanny/Babysitter
  5. Secretary

Actors and Performance Artists

One of the core strengths of a performing artist is confidence. As a result, you can easily find new employment in fields like:

  1. Sales Representative
  2. Teacher/Teaching Assistant (while taking a break from your active acting career, you can share your knowledge in an acting school.)
  3. Brand ambassador

Food Preparation

If you’ve been terminated from a food preparation job, you might find it hard to find new employment because your skills are so industry-specific. It’s tough to translate them into another field.

That said, you can still make income in general-labor jobs that haven’t declined:

  1. Delivery driver
  2. Housekeeper
  3. Security officer
  4. Warehouse associate
  5. Caregiver

Hospitality Workers and Front-Desk Staff

If you held a hospitality or front desk position in the past, you have a wide range of new career opportunities to choose from.

The most popular options include:

  1. Sales representative (make use of your friendliness and demeanor—it’s a career primarily based on building and maintaining relationships.)
  2. Executive assistant/personal assistant (skills such as scheduling, making appointments, and dealing with administrative tasks will make you the right candidate for such roles.)

Other career paths worth considering even if temporarily:

  1. English teacher
  2. Nanny/babysitter
  3. Project manager

Flight Attendants

If you’ve lost your job as a flight attendant, you can still find employment in other positions related to travel and entertainment:

  1. Executive assistant/personal assistant
  2. Travel agent
  3. Safety coordinator
  4. Event manager

Real Estate and Property Management

If you have difficulty finding a new job as a former real estate agent or a property manager, you can successfully apply for mid-level managerial roles such as:

  1. Project manager
  2. Sales manager
  3. Operations manager
  4. Business owner
  5. Executive assistant

The skills you’ve acquired in juggling multiple projects, negotiating with tenants, licensing, and supervising maintenance will come in handy in project or operations management.

So—What Do You Think?

There you have it. 

A handful of viable career opportunities for professionals that have lost their job in the wake of COVID-19.

Now—have you been affected by the crisis that’s been ripping the whole world apart? Did you manage to transition into a new field?


Kuba is the founder of Zety—a career advice site visited by over 40 million readers a year. Zety delivers solutions for job seekers: a professional resume builder and data-driven career advice curated by certified experts.

Apartment Jobs Report August 2020

The latest edition of NAAEI’s Apartment Jobs Snapshot tallies more than 14,600 available positions in the multifamily sector.


In August’s edition of NAAEI’s Apartment Jobs Snapshot, more than 14,600 positions were available in the multifamily sector. Markets with the highest concentration of job postings included Indianapolis, Columbus, Ohio; Dallas, Louisville, Ky.; and Austin. This month’s spotlight highlights Leasing Consultants. The demand for these positions was more than four times the national average in Austin, where the average time to fill for apartment jobs was just 34 days. The top specialized skills employers are looking for included leasing, customer service, property management, sales and Yardi Software.


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As reported by the National Apartment Association

How COVID-19 Is Impacting Rental Housing

New reports show the influence of the pandemic on various apartment classes and metros across the country.

Sep 11, 2020
By Holly Dutton

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has led to an economic downturn and millions of jobs losses over the last six months. While some real estate sectors took hard hits, like retail and hospitality, multifamily has proved to be resilient. But as the health crisis winds on and government relief measures stall in Congress, some pockets of the rental housing market could experience significant distress.


READ ALSO: Trump Administration Orders Nationwide Eviction Ban


A just-released study from Middleburg Communities, a multifamily investment and development firm, found that average asking rent across all apartment classes in the U.S. fell by just $1 from the first quarter of 2020 to the second quarter, dropping from $1,368 to $1,367. Absorption was also positive, with the number of apartment renters increasing by 60,000 from Q1 to Q2, according to data from CoStar.

However, apartments at the high end of the market have struggled during the pandemic, something researchers predicted would happen back in April. According to the Middleburg report, average rents in Class A apartment fell much more than Class B or Class C apartments in the second quarter of this year. In some metros—including Charlotte, Nashville and New York—the declines were even steeper in the urban core areas. The difference may be due at least in part to urban renters leaving the city and heading to the suburbs.

The Middleburg report cautioned that the lack of new government legislation to support unemployed workers “certainly raises concerns,” and could potentially lead to substantial rent declines if no new stimulus is passed in the fall. However, even in the event of no new stimulus, the report authors pointed to employment and GDP forecasts from Oxford Economics and others who have predicted that a steep decline in rents would be followed by a steep increase.

At-risk renters

While data from the National Multifamily Housing Council’s has shown that rent payment collection has fared well over throughout the pandemic, the data does not account for a large portion of the multifamily market that is not professionally managed and that tends to have lower-income renters that are more likely to be impacted financially due to the pandemic.

New research from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University shows that 12.1 million renter households in the U.S. have residents with at least some at-risk wages. The loss of wages in at-risk industries would push the share of renters with costs burdens to well above 50 percent, according to JCHS.

The uncertainty surrounding employment underscores the need for more rental assistance, something the multifamily industry as well as housing advocates have urged Congress to pass. According to estimates from JCHS, renters across the country could need anywhere from $3.5 billion to $7.5 billion in assistance each month to fill the gap between lost incomes and rents.

“This is just addressing the cost of the pandemic and would not address people who were cost burdened before the pandemic, so it’s still not solving the underlying affordability crisis,” said Whitney Airgood-Obrycki, a research associate at JCHS.

Areas in the U.S. that are the most vulnerable are metros in the South and West, including Las Vegas and Orlando, which have the highest share of renters with at-risk jobs and existing severe cost burdens. Many rental households in the U.S. are vulnerable due to working jobs requiring close proximity to other people and multi-generational and overcrowded living conditions.

The U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey taken in mid-July found that many renters reported missing a rent payment or worried about next month’s payment, while 1 in 5 households reported not paying July rent on time. Black and Hispanic households were more likely to report late or deferred payments.

Airgood-Obrycki predicted that rental markets could see cooling demand as households consolidate, renters move in with roommates and young people move in with their parents. Additionally, some renters may leave the market to become homeowners. Going into the pandemic, there was momentum in the home-buying market, and that could continue.

She also predicted there will likely be increased demand for a limited supply of low-rent units, while at the top of the market, landlords will offer concessions for newer units.

Rent Payment Struggles Continue


More than six months into the coronavirus pandemic, multifamily trade groups and advocates are worried about the cascading effects of falling rent payments.

While some reports have found that collections haven’t dropped as drastically as many had feared, numbers are still down from the same time last year. And with federal rent relief measures stalled in Congress, the expiration of additional unemployment benefits and continued job losses across the country, industry leaders fear the worst is yet to come.


READ ALSO: How COVID-19 is Impacting Rental Housing


Since April, the National Multifamily Housing Council has released a report on rent collections that reflects more than 13.4 million professionally managed units. NMHC’s Rent Payment Tracker has consistently updated its numbers from industry data providers, offering a helpful look at where things stand. As of Sept. 20, 90.1 percent of renters had paid September rent, according to NMHC. The number is a 1.7 percentage point drop from the same time last year.

However, and as NMHC has itself pointed out, the tool leaves out a wide swath of the multifamily market. According to a July survey of small landlords in the U.S. by The Terner Center for Housing Innovation at the University of California, Berkeley, and the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, 57 percent of respondents said their rent collections are down from the first quarter, with 30 percent of respondents saying they are down more than 25 percent.

A widespread issue

Other industry surveys and reports have helped shine light on where rent collections stand. A report released in mid-September by the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Research Institute for Housing America (RIHA) found that nearly 11 million households fell behind on their rent or mortgage payments during the first three months of the COVID-19 pandemic. While government stimulus programs and employees getting back to work has led to an increase in the number of payments, report authors said Congressional gridlock and increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases pose a “real risk” to the ability of renters to make upcoming payments.

Apartment List, a national rental listing platform, reported earlier this month that in the first week of September, 32 percent of renters had not paid their full rent payment. The study also found that 31 percent of renters started September owing back rent for previous months. Of those who had fallen behind on payment, many stacked up credit card debt, sold off assets, or dipped into retirement savings to stay afloat.

“The high overall rates indicate that even those who have managed to stay current on rent may not be in great financial health,” Apartment List wrote in its report.

“We need solutions now. We can no longer wait for the federal government to bail us out,” said CHIP Executive Director Jay Martin.

In the New York City metro area, the Community Housing Improvement Program, a group representing 4,000 landlords of rent-stabilized properties, found that more than 19 percent of residential tenants had paid no rent in September and the residential vacancy rate reached 12.5 percent, according to a survey of its members. The responses received represented at least 80,000 units in New York City.

CHIP Executive Director Jay Martin called on city and state leaders to take measures to help bail out the “affordable housing ecosystem” for both renters and landlords.

“We need solutions now. We can no longer wait for the federal government to bail us out,” Martin said in prepared remarks Sept. 17.

Reports from the Joint Center for Housing Studies have also identified metros around the country with the most vulnerable populations of “at-risk” renters.

Where relief measures stand

While industry trade groups and housing advocates agree that the problem can only be solved by a major injection of capital at the federal level, it hasn’t stopped some cities and local partnerships from launching their own relief funds.

Rental assistance programs in New York, Louisiana and Los Angeles were overwhelmed with demand soon after launching. In Houston, which has a renter population of nearly 2 million according to 2017 Census data, a $15 million relief fund created by the city in mid-May was drained just 90 minutes after it opened to applicants.

One recent effort to help those in need is Project Parachute, a coalition of more than 40 multifamily owners, nonprofits and city agencies in the New York City area that joined forces to help renters stay in their homes. The project launched in May with an initial $4 million investment from property owners and recently received an additional $3 million from several philanthropic donors, according to The Real Deal.

As the pandemic grinds into the fall season, the expiration date of the federal eviction moratorium enacted earlier this month draws closer and the widespread need for relief measures becomes more clear, industry groups and advocates continue to call on a deadlocked Congress to pass legislation.

“Without federal assistance, 30 to 40 million people will be at risk of losing their homes when the federal eviction moratorium ends on December 31,” the National Low-Income Housing Coalition said in a memo to its members Sept. 21. “The only way to protect these renters is for Congress and the White House to return to the negotiating table and work out a deal now.”