Sound Bites Jun11

Sound Bites

Few effects of the pandemic were felt as immediately or universally as food consumption. Barren supermarket shelves, higher prices and social distancing edicts forced many consumers to develop new patterns for obtaining and preparing food. According to results from a Consumer Reports survey published in January, about 80% of Americans made at least one change in the food they eat or the way they source or prepare it. People were snacking, stress eating and eating comfort foods more often, with 32% admitting they’ve gained weight (and 15% claiming to lose some). Another 22% said they were eating healthier than they were a year ago. “When people have less structure in their day and more access to the kitchen, it leads to more snacking and nibbling,” says Dr. Lisa Young, a nutrition and food studies expert at New York University. Not to mention more ordering in. Grubhub’s most popular deliveries in 2020 were heavily weighted toward comfort food, with chicken occupying the top three spots (spicy sandwich, burrito bowl and wings), followed by waffle fries, cold brew coffee and steak quesadilla. Home cooking heats up The novelty of takeout might have worn thin by September, when sales and marketing agency Acosta reported that 35% of the population had developed a newfound passion for cooking. As the pandemic moved into 2021, Americans continued to cook more, with 71% saying they will continue to do so after the crisis ends. That could signify that home cooks have become more creative and confident in the kitchen, along with enjoying the benefits of saving money and eating healthier. As the pandemic abates in some regions, consumers might choose to evaluate their diets and identify habits acquired during the pandemic that are worth keeping and which ones could be discarded....

Business Intelligence Tools...

How can business intelligence (BI) tools unlock the power of senior living? In collaboration with Yardi, Senior Housing News (SHN) assembled a brand-new white paper to help senior living providers examine the power of BI — and how to utilize it. Here’s a look at what’s covered: Intelligent Business: How Business Intelligence Tools Unlock the Power of Senior Living There’s no questioning the value of good data. But when data is supplemented with digital tools to extract insights, that value grows exponentially. That’s where business intelligence comes in — an addition to your senior living software that helps your company go the extra mile. And with Yardi Senior IQ, our BI solution, senior living providers uncover the insights needed to act confidently, save time and drive growth across communities. At a glance, Senior IQ offers comprehensive analytics that import data from your communities, compiling it in easy-to-read graphs and tables. KPIs like occupancy rate and NOI are made readily available, along with additional metrics like resident count, marketing spend and conversion rate. This white paper dives deeper into how — and why — BI solutions are important for senior living providers, now more than ever. Key points include: The transition toward data-driven business practicesAn increasing need for accompanying technology & digital toolsThree types of data analytics & how they apply to senior housingHow Yardi Senior IQ yields better senior housing decisionsTestimonials from senior living leaders To access the insights, read the full SHN business intelligence white paper. Interested in Yardi Senior IQ? Get in...

Tech Investment Jun10

Tech Investment

Millions of Canadians count on the social housing sector to provide them with accessible housing resources and services. Organizations like the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association (CHRA) and Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association (ONPHA) work closely with local providers to advocate for and assist this underserved population, despite working within tight budgets. This sector’s resiliency has been the driver for great innovation over the last 12 months. In many cases this involved collaborating with technology providers to map out how the future of social housing can be simplified for staff, residents and suppliers. Deciding when and how to digitize social housing workflows depends on answers to question such as: is there an immediate factor that can be resolved to improve how your office functions? Are your applicants, residents and staff increasingly requesting new digital access to processes you’ve normally conducted in-person, on the phone or via mail? Can your team quickly access the data it needs to make informed decisions, while staying compliant? Once you make the decision to invest, benefits will follow. Benefit #1: Empower Staff through Streamlined Processes Technology built for social housing can reduce “touch points” that live within your day-to-day processes. Think of a touch point as a desk or computer screen that a file has to be delivered to in order for it to move one step closer to completion. The goal of reducing those touch points is not to lessen oversight, but rather to automate access to information so that those stops or “touch points” can be fewer and faster. The Durham Region Non-Profit Housing Corporation  (Durham Housing), for example, recently self-evaluated their high-volume tasks to measure their efficiency. They wondered how they could reduce the number of times their team had to touch paperwork associated with those tasks,...

7 CRM Benefits

How can senior living providers attract new residents, nurture leads and increase resident retention? Implementing a thoughtful CRM program like RENTCafé Senior CRM is key. To explore why CRM software is crucial in today’s landscape, and to guide providers through what can be a challenging process, Yardi is excited to share an upgraded resource. What are the benefits of CRM software? Which solutions make the difference? Our new and improved ebook — CRM for Senior Living — covers it all.   CRM defined What is CRM, and how does it apply to senior living? CRM, or customer relationship management, is technology used to oversee interactions with prospects with the goal of improving relationships through use of data. CRM software captures both quantitative and qualitative data across various channels, storing it all in one centralized location. This aggregated data set then paints a holistic view of prospects, surfacing insights to help staff make strategic decisions. With increased visibility, senior living providers can better organize leads, streamline marketing efforts and see what’s working — and what’s not. A new guide to CRM software Packed with informative tips and tools, Yardi’s enhanced ebook explores 7 ways CRM software helps senior living operators drive their communities forward. Learn how solutions like RENTCafé Senior CRM work to: Supercharge marketingShorten lead response timeCentralize dataOptimize contact strategyStrengthen client relationshipsAutomate communicationSimplify workflows RENTCafé Senior CRM RENTCafé Senior CRM provides mobile-friendly sales and marketing tools for the unique needs of senior living operators. Integrated in the Yardi Senior Living Suite, this single connected solution unlocks the ability to drive quality leads, increase resident retention, produce sales projections, boost staff performance and more. Access the insights by reading our upgraded CRM ebook. For more information about RENTCafé Senior CRM or other products within the...

Digitizing Priceless Texts Jun08

Digitizing Priceless Texts

Have you ever heard the saying, “We don’t know what we don’t know?” We cannot quantify the impact of lost or destroyed information once it’s gone. Subsequent generations are simply left not knowing what was once known. From the destruction of the Xianyang State Archives in 206 B.C. and burning of the U.S. Library of Congress in 1814 to the vandalism of the Central Library of Mosul in 2015, human action and natural disasters have robbed the world of more than 100 major libraries and their irreplaceable texts. In 2003, many sacred and historic texts at the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (BORI) in Pune suffered at the hands of vandals. The incident was a sober reminder that we must proactively protect the fragile and irreplaceable documents that influence cultural evolution. To protect the legacies of literature and celebrate its centennial anniversary, BORI and Yardi have teamed up to create a digital library. Meet BORI Established in 1917, BORI is the caretaker of more than 153,000 rare books and 28,000 manuscripts. Texts offer valuable insights on topics such as the Vedas, Ayurveda, Buddhism, Jainism, Sanskrit and ancient Indian philosophies.  In 2017, the organization celebrated 100 years in operation. Staff initiated a new digital library that would protect its priceless holdings while making content available to larger audiences. “We recognized the need to evolve in a new direction,” explains Sudheer Vaishampayan, honorary secretary of BORI. “We recognized the need to protect the treasure in our care as well as the significance of making it accessible. Hence we started the mission to digitize our library.” A labor of love and a legacy To create the digital library, staff followed five basic steps: Create an online catalogue system to ensure that texts are easy to find. BORI used a “Marc-21” standard that includes 26 fields per catalogue entry.Select books for scanning based on three parameters: online availability, copyrights and academic significance. Based on those criteria, BORI selected nearly 16,000 books.Establish the Digitization Lab. BORI is home to one of the most well-equipped digitization labs in India that includes three book scanners and two document scanners.Begin the time consuming and tedious process called non-destructive scanning. Page-by-page, staff scanned in almost 16,000 books. BORI staff partnered with Nyansa, an end-to-end digital solutions facilitator. The teams worked in three shifts from 6 a.m. to 12 a.m.. It has taken two years to scan nearly 7 million pages—and work is still in progress!Transition scanned files to the Digitalaya platform created by the Center for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC). Lastly, BORI established BoriLib.com.  The digital library went live in late 2019. It currently hosts 8,269 books with about 7,500 books in the pipeline. “After five years, and tremendous efforts of multiple teams, we know that our digital journey has only begun,” said Vaishampayan. “The pandemic has put a brake on our speed, but we will finish the job by the end of 2021.” BORI + Yardi, safeguarding the future by preserving the past The information and philosophies found within the books have already survived the test of time. In a digital library, they will remain with us even if the original texts cannot. The benefits of such work are innumerable. Yardi is a proud sponsor of the digital library. “Yardi sponsors the whole initiative,” says Bhupal Patwardhan, chairman of the executive board at BORI. “Mr. Anant Yardi, the founder of Yardi Systems, facilitated the implementation of the entire project. They donated two new book scanners, sponsored the digitization process and also our move to the Digitalaya platform developed by C-DAC.” He continues, “We are also eternally grateful to Ajmera group for helping us buy the first book-scanner in 2016.” Though the bulk of the project is complete, work remains. The library is currently accessible online and will receive updates as new resources become available. “We remain grateful to every helping hand as we strive to safeguard the...

New Student Housing Standards Jun07

New Student Housing Standards

Experiences shape our approach to built spaces. In 1992, Hurricane Andrew irreversibly changed building codes in Gulf states. About 20 years later, Hurricane Sandy prompted code and regulation shifts in New York and mid-Atlantic states. While natural disasters are often the catalysts, the pandemic has made its own mark upon built environments. Student housing experts weigh in on the pandemic-inspired trends that are here to stay. They earn their staying power as they increase convenience, improve functionality and appeal to student demands. Modular construction expedites projects, appeals to students Labor shortage, shelter-in-place mandates and leaps in material costs are just a few causes for delayed project completions in 2020. Projects lag even as campus life returns to normal. Stick-built construction may prove too costly and time consuming to meet projected timelines for future projects. Experts believe modular design will become more mainstream in student housing. “While upfront material costs may be similar to stick-built construction, modular can result in significant time savings, allowing developers to catch up on projects that might have been delayed and deliver new projects faster. This is especially beneficial in markets with high labor costs,” says Kelly Naylor, director of interior design and senior partner at BKV Group. Additionally, modular design places sustainability at the forefront of building. Building construction and operation contribute to roughly 33% of global energy consumption and 39% of greenhouse gas emissions, notes Naylor. Modular construction and light steel framing can reduce a carbon footprint by 20%. Student populations vastly support sustainability measures, and green housing will be well received. Improved ventilation makes a comeback Whether conventional or modular construction, air quality has resurfaced as a top priority.In past decades, an emphasis on tighter building envelopes encouraged greater energy efficiency at the expense of natural ventilation practices. A new program by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) combines the efficiency of ENERGY STAR® with improved air quality through Indoor airPLUS for residential properties. Additional building standards also support improved air quality. HVAC systems containing filters with Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) ratings of 13 or higher are among best practices, per the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). To maintain optimal ventilation, the organization recommends the use of CO2 sensors that trigger ventilation purge cycles. Maintaining a higher standard of clean becomes a line item To no one’s surprise, heightened cleanliness standards will remain a priority for the foreseeable future. To promote resident and staff health, student housing providers are implementing hospital-grade electrostatic sprayers to sanitize public surfaces, reports Justin Wybenga, vice president of asset services at GMH Capital Partners. The cleanest surface, of course, is one that no one has to touch. “Many residents are also looking for convenient contactless or concierge-focused amenities,” says Wybenga. “Prior to the pandemic, owners were installing package locker systems and refurbishing buildings with keyless entries, but they have been making significant investments to upgrade amenities with new efficient software like Bluetooth entry for package lockers that has become expected and the norm.” Shared spaces must share the spotlight… Before the pandemic, shared spaces were a staple in new construction. They will continue to be a part of design but play a significantly smaller role, projects Naylor. “For many, studying within their residence or building, rather than on-campus, translated to improved productivity, which they will still want coming out of the pandemic. As designers, we want to facilitate these behaviors by creating spaces within residences and throughout the building where students can focus on academics while feeling connected to the greater community,” she says. Research on the impact of COVID-19 on higher education students that was shared by the University of Nevada concurs. During the pandemic, a higher number of students craved quiet places to study and designated desks. Without access to those resources, they reported “below average satisfaction” with their school and experience. …when students want to share at all Wybenga and his...

One Team, One Dream

When Yardi expanded to the Asia Pacific (APAC) market 15 years ago, it entered uncharted territory. Supporting a new team more than 11,000 miles away from the Santa Barbara headquarters required creativity, cultural savvy, a bold sense of exploration—and of course, technology. Since then, the Yardi Systems Pty Ltd. has established itself as a trusted leader in proptech. That trust has developed in part due to the marketing team which consists of three members serving from Sydney and Singapore. The team builds association relationships and develops the Yardi profile as trusted partners to and supporters of the real estate industry. This is done through content-rich materials such as white papers, articles, online events and APAC’s biggest initiative, the APAC-wide PropTech survey. The team is also responsible for translating Yardi’s global identity to the local markets. This includes marketing materials dedicated to the APAC region as well as sales and service materials. Big fish, growing pond Marketing manager Nina Feldman began her career with Yardi APAC five years ago. She was intrigued by working with a global organization that was relatively new to the region. “I get to work in the most awesome corporate environment that also functions like a startup – this gives me a whole heap of challenges but lots of fun, too,” says Feldman. Nina Feldman The APAC marketing team shifts through diverse workflows to accommodate the needs of the region’s sales and services teams. She finds it challenging to balance local agility with the unique demands of a global organization. It’s a challenge she tackles each day with the help of communication. “Communication, communication, communication. I’m a firm believer in one team, one dream. We’re all working for the same outcome. Whilst the ideal process never exists, I will always keep everyone in the loop so they feel informed and comfortable with whatever is happening or the timelines involved,” she says. Get in-depth insights on local best practices at the Mingtiandi Asia Logistics Real Estate Forum, sponsored by Yardi. Building cohesion while working thousands of miles apart Sasha Shatilova and Ian Khoo are marketing associates in the APAC team. Though both virtually joined Yardi during the pandemic, they felt welcomed and engaged from day one. Ian Khoo Sasha Shatilova “A highlight is definitely the first team lunch with Nina and Ian where each of us made a short PowerPoint presentation about ourselves. Very geeky, I know, but we have really bonded as a team through that activity,” says Shatilova. Khoo adds, “It has been a complete work-from-home environment which eliminates that warmth you get when you are in an office. Thankfully, my marketing team has been really warm and supportive and daily video calls with them has generated that sense of camaraderie that you’d get over office lunches.” Both associates were pleasantly surprised by corporate culture at Yardi. “There is an incredible support system here at Yardi,” says Shatilova. “Despite it being a very large company, the culture is surprisingly flat. You really feel that your ideas are being respected and your voice heard.” Khoo agrees. “I am able to feel a sense of community. Nobody shies away from extending a helping hand wherever possible, be it across the world in the U.K. or even locally in a separate department. There is a strong sense of collaboration within each project where everyone feels heard and feel like they are able to contribute their own ideas.” Interested in becoming a Yardi team member? Explore opportunities in your...

EHR Care Stream App

For nurses and other care staff in senior living, having an efficient record-keeping system is crucial. And for staff members who work across multiple communities — or remotely — accessing an electronic health record system from a mobile device is largely beneficial.    With the latest release of the Yardi EHR Care Stream app, users can now access the features from a smartphone — an advantageous step forward for senior care staff. This upgrade means the Care Stream app is compatible with both smartphones and tablet devices. In short, the upgrade allows nurses and care staff to perform order resolutions and execute point-of-care charting directly from a smartphone. This helps staff streamline workflows, save time and optimize care responsibilities. And with a user interface reformatted for smartphone use, the new and improved app supports all the same functionality as the tablet version. “With the flexibility to perform order resolutions and related tasks from a smartphone, senior care staff can complete their work more efficiently,” said Ray Elliott, vice president of senior living at Yardi. “The upgrade also helps staff members with limited access to tablet devices. Smartphone functionality allows more communities to utilize the app’s many benefits.” To download the Yardi EHR Care Stream app for smartphones, visit the Google Play Store or the App...

Informed Decisions, Better Results

The most successful companies are those that utilize data and analytics as a supporting tool to adapt to rapid market changes, but how can you simplify Big Data to improve daily decision making? How can online services help you stay connected while safely doing business miles apart? There are innovative solutions that offer a combination of tools that boost profitability, efficiency, communication and even security. Read on to discover four ways asset intelligence (AI) technology can help CRE operators understand how to navigate market shifts and emerge with a competitive edge. 1. Use data to enhance asset performance On average, more North American organizations have been using big data for benchmarking and prescriptive analytics over the past few years. In fact, according to KMPG’s 2020 CEO Outlook, 92% of Canadian CEOs fast-tracked their transformation to meet COVID-19 challenges, with 76% believing that investments in tech tools such as automation, artificial intelligence and cloud systems are critical to unlocking long-term growth. As a result of the tech adoption, the CRE industry is seeing AI enable teams to identify patterns and recognize trends by easily visualizing broader pools of data that influence KPIs, all within a customizable dashboard. With the assistance of automation and machine learning, the data becomes more refined over time facilitating more informed decisions on everything from marketing spend to concessions and leasing velocity. Having ongoing access to distilled real-time reporting encourages team collaboration, a data driven culture and empowers departments to stay on track of projects – it can even give individuals the latitude to go beyond their day-to-day responsibilities. During challenging times, this refined data also gives operators better insight into deals and key early wins that can reassure and even excite stakeholders. 2. Forge a clearer pathway to success with cloud-based data management Cloud-based asset management platforms offer key insights into portfolio health including revenues, debt, risk, occupancy and sales. Such data helps asset managers make more strategic decisions and set stakeholder expectations. Benefits also abound at the property level. Today’s asset management software seamlessly integrates with site-specific tools. Integrated, cloud-based technology supports facility and construction managers, leasing agents and property-level users. From online rent payments to digital procurement, users save time, decrease redundancies and improve accuracy within a single integrated system. With site staff connected to a single point of truth, they can efficiently make better day-to-day decisions. Structured dashboards enhance the value and practicality of data. “[Commercial clients] want a solution that’s designed for them and which connects them to the central data system with mobile applications and dashboards. That’s why we created a connected ecosystem for the operations side with Yardi Elevate,” explains Brian Sutherland, vice president, sales commercial at Yardi. He continues, “Expanding data access to the back office is tied to the larger issue of data management. The challenge is dissecting data and making it actionable for informed decisions. That’s the importance of role-based dashboards that remove guesswork for building operations people who need to control costs and work more efficiently.” Modern asset management technology platforms assimilate data at the property and portfolio levels and make it universally available. With a complete set of information, asset managers can evaluate pipelines, connect investors with appropriate deals and create an effective management plan. More strategic deal execution paves the way to increased revenues and overall success. 3. Gain greater efficiency and convenience throughout your organization with online services The cloud offers a unique opportunity to work with live data from anywhere with an internet connection. Executives can review reports, approve expenses and authorize payments when and where it’s convenient for them. Asset managers virtually present live reports to stakeholders with real-time data that is consistent throughout reporting systems. Whether in the office or a remote work environment, leaders across the organization achieve greater accuracy and efficiency with online services. At the property level, online portals make it easy to process rent payments,...

IN2: Fresh, Clean Tech Jun01

IN2: Fresh, Clean Tech...

What would make affordable housing more affordable? The implementation of cost-saving, sustainable features. Unfortunately, clean tech faces an uphill battle with adaptation in the industry. A national incubator aims to change that. Wells Fargo presents a program that promotes innovation in housing by assisting clean tech companies with an accelerated path to market. Three new residential housing technology companies just joined the incubator this spring—heading to a market near you. 3 The challenge with green innovation in affordable housing Innovative tech startups can have the amazing ideas and the promising products, but they struggle to find funding. Unproven technologies are often seen as a risky investment. The real estate industry is notoriously slow at adapting even proven technologies, which makes the challenge twice as formidable for green building startups. The journey to market is formidable for green startups, but not insuperable. Innovation Incubator (IN2) supports the research and development of the most promising startups. As a result, affordable housing builders and developers can feel more confident about investing in new sustainable housing technologies. IN2: the solution that fosters more solutions IN2 is a dreamchild. It unites the funding and industry savvy of the Wells Fargo Foundation with the research specialists and technology of the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The program is part of Wells Fargo Foundation’s $1 billion commitment to affordable housing. Startups selected by IN2 receive $250,000 in non-dilutive funding to hone their innovations. They work side-by-side with experts at NREL and the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center. Such collaborations give startups access to cutting edge research and testing. Startups also receive priceless networking opportunities, and their work is amplified throughout the industry.  Since 2014, the program has furnished product validation for 46 companies via NREL or the...

Yardi Congratulates SFHS

In the world of senior living, it’s inspiring to see organizations working to stay innovative and go above and beyond with resident care. With that, Yardi joins LeadingAge Minnesota in honoring St. Francis Health Services (SFHS) for their outstanding accomplishments in aging services. Recognized with the Award of Honor for Performance Excellence in Aging Services, SFHS has shown their deep commitment to caring for seniors.    The Award of Honor In 2017, LeadingAge Minnesota began their Performance Excellence in Aging Services program. The experience was designed to help senior living providers channel innovative ideas and most importantly — improve the quality-of-care services within their communities. The Award of Honor recognizes organizations that have achieved a certain level of performance excellence, and those who wish to continue on that path. Here’s to St. Francis Health Services For SFHS, a client using Yardi software solutions, their impressive 24 management practices earned them the accolade. These practices fall within six key categories including leadership, strategy, customers, measurement, workforce and operations. “The Award of Honor in Performance Excellence in Aging Services recognizes the distinct accomplishments and positive outcomes by providers who are committed to the quality of care, services and support provided to older adults in aging services settings,” said Gayle Kvenvold, president and CEO of LeadingAge Minnesota. “We congratulate St. Francis Health Services for their demonstrated commitment to quality and excellence in all that they do.” More about SFHS  Since its origin in 1963, St. Francis Health Services has provided services to aging adults. The non-profit, faith-based organization focuses on assisted living, home healthcare, senior housing, skilled nursing and transitional care. Additionally, SFHS offers a full range of therapies plus community and residential services to people with developmental and mental disabilities, as well as mental illnesses. Be sure to check out St. Francis Health Services’ accomplishments in quality and performance excellence. Interested in senior living software solutions? Get in touch or explore the Yardi Senior Living...

Reaching 100 May30

Reaching 100

How does somebody live to be 100? Genes, environment or just luck? In the 20th century the average life expectancy rose 30 years, the greatest gain in 5,000 years of human history, according to health information source Prevention, which also said that the centenarian club increased 51% between 1990 and 2000. What explains this progression? Advances in health, education, disease prevention and treatment certainly played key roles. But, Gregg Easterbrook reported in The Atlantic in 2014, “Viewed globally, the lengthening of life spans seems independent of any single, specific event. It didn’t accelerate much as antibiotics and vaccines became common. Nor did it retreat much during wars or disease outbreaks.” Documentarian Jason Prall interviewed centenarians in nine countries in an attempt to gauge the impact of lifestyle, environment and mindset on longevity. Some of the common denominators he identified were simple yet impactful choices in food, exercise and social interaction. “If you want to keep your brain young, music, movement and engaging with others, those three things, I would say are the most important things you can do,” Prall said. “We also need to have fun, enjoy our lives, find something meaningful and be passion-driven, whether it’s art or whatever it is.” Most researchers agree that key elements of a supportive living environment include exercise, stimulating interpersonal relationships, a positive attitude about challenges, and access to green space, health care and good nutrition. “Constant interaction with other people can be annoying, but overall seems to keep us engaged with life,” said Thomas Perls, a professor at Boston Medical Center. But of course it’s not that simple. “Lifestyle studies of centenarians can be really puzzling,” noted Brian Kennedy, CEO of the Buck Institute, a research facility dedicated to extending the human life span. “They smoke...

ESG Strategies May28

ESG Strategies

Dealing with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic has made commercial real estate landlords and tenants focus on new strategies for employee safety. Simultaneously, the industry has had to adjust protocols and practices as calls for equity have become corporate priorities throughout the U.S. and the world. This has created a focus on ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) strategies to analyze and identify risks, health and growth opportunities. It requires participation from everyone ­– landlord to office employee to maintenance technician – to foster an atmosphere of inclusiveness. Most companies will endeavor to create a culture that sustains a positive environment, especially as many businesses are re-entering the physical workspace. Examples of unique benefits come from Brixmor Property Group, a company who owns and operates over 400 retail centers across the country. As a response to the pandemic, they implemented a mental health awareness program, offering free access to licensed therapists for all employees. Brixmor also created personal development accounts to encourage growth through professional and personal training. These accounts have been used for something as adventurous as sailing lessons or as work-focused as Excel classes. Daren Moss, Brixmor senior vice president, explained on a recent ICSC webinar that the company has also created company-wide awards recognizing community service and ingenuity. These, among other initiatives, help make employees feel they are part of a unique and healthy workplace, while encouraging work-life balance. Companies often have mission or value statements that promote diversity and inclusion, but taking action can be more challenging. Brixmor created a leadership council to assist in best practices and behaviors to promote inclusiveness. This has improved diversity in recruitment and hiring. Mental health has also come to the forefront during the pandemic. Lockdowns, isolation, fear and illness have all had adverse...

BI Tech Benefits

What should leaders and investors consider when selecting a business intelligence (BI) solution for senior living? That’s the topic of an upcoming webinar sponsored by Yardi and hosted by McKnight’s Senior Living. The webinar, Differentiators in Business Intelligence Technology, will feature industry experts across senior living. This includes: Trey Allen, Yardi Support Specialist, Dominion Senior LivingMichael Bowles, Project Coordinator, Dial Senior Living Through an informative discussion, attendees will access the tools, tips and insights needed to choose an effective BI solution — and learn how to maximize their use of BI technology. More specifically, attendees will learn:     How business intelligence reduces workloads and helps visualize data Key factors to consider when selecting BI software for senior livingAn analysis of Yardi Senior IQ, a single connected BI solution, plus client testimonials The webinar will take place on June 16 at 1 p.m. EDT. Want to learn more about selecting the right BI solution for senior living? Register for the webinar. Looking for additional resources on business intelligence? Explore Yardi’s ebook, Differentiators in BI...

Changemakers Series

How can senior living leaders drive change, all while prioritizing resident care in their communities? Ask Michael Joseph, founder and president of Clover Group and member of the 2021 Changemakers class. From building a company model to serve middle-income seniors in independent living — to operating 40 communities with expansions on the way — Michael has become quite the industry trailblazer. In this year’s Changemakers series, a collaboration between Yardi and Senior Housing News (SHN), interviews are conducted with pioneers across the industry. For Michael Joseph, his unique pathway to serving the middle market has earned him the Changemaker honor. Check out this excerpt from the SHN interview where Michael highlights his approach in navigating change, along with his strategies for shaping the middle-income segment in senior living. Can you highlight a few changes that you have driven that you are most proud of, or that you believe have been most significant to Clover or the industry? I think the greatest achievement we’ve done at Clover started with the very first deal. I think the greatest achievement is that we focused on a segment of the society that no one else focused on, which was the middle-income, independent living person. The focus at the time and frankly until very recently was the wealthy — with either what was then called assisted living, or upscale senior communities like Del Webb-type places — and then the poor, where you had low- to moderate-income tax credit deals to provide senior housing, and subsidized nursing homes. What we didn’t have was anybody focusing on the healthy, middle-income person, who had very terrible options at the time. Their options were to move in with one of their kids, stay in a house that they could no longer really live...

YASC Global

More than 17,000 participants from 64 countries collectively viewed 60,000 classes about Yardi products and initiatives from May 18-20 during the third virtual Yardi Advanced Solutions Conference (YASC) Global event held during the pandemic. Many of the spotlight sessions offered highlighted ways that Yardi technology has helped clients, their employees and customers adapt and thrive with technology during a time when limited contact has been a priority. The event again utilized the Yardi Aspire platform to deliver customized educational content. YASC attendees also enjoyed a virtual fundraising concert by guitarist/songwriter Jason Mraz. Each view of the performance generated a donation from Yardi, raising nearly $100,000 for COVID-19 relief initiatives. Meditation and mindfulness sessions were available for attendees to enjoy during short breaks between classes. Highlights from some of the featured spotlight sessions included: Marketing and automation solutions for residential Optimized marketing, automated chatbots and accessible self-guided tours were among the highlights presented in the residential spotlight session. These fully integrated Yardi solutions are among the ways multifamily clients have continued to see success during the pandemic. “I want to show you what’s possible when you have the right digital marketing strategy in place,” said Esther Bonardi, vice president of marketing at Yardi. “I bet you have a website. But do you have a comprehensive marketing strategy in place that can help you get your properties on page one of search results and get your customers directly to your website so that you can convert them into paying renters, faster?” RENTCafé Reach helps clients attract qualified prospects with advanced search marketing services. The platform is currently optimizing more than 2,000 industry websites for organic search and driving rent-ready leads to managers. “This is the most cost-effective marketing channel,” Bonardi said. “And you can target exactly the traffic you need for the moment or availability you’re in.” Additional features like reputation management, search, and a new marketing analytics tool called Marketing IQ were also presented. “Marketing IQ is a one stop shop for all the data you need to make marketing decisions,” Bonardi said. “It’s really all for the purpose of improving your marketing ROI, which ultimately leads to a stronger NOI.” Once you’ve got a prospect on the line, engaging immediately to answer their questions is of paramount importance. But what if it’s after hours or your leasing office is closed for the weekend? That’s where chatbots come in. “Your prospective residents want and expect answers quickly, whether you’re open or not, or they quickly move on. This is especially true for popular new channels like text and chat,” said Paul Yount, industry principal for RENTCafé. “Bots and multiple touring options can really complement each other when they work together hand in hand.” Yount demonstrated a full conversation with a chatbot that answered questions about a property’s electric vehicle charging stations, pet policy, availability and pricing. He was able to schedule a self-guided tour via text and then showed how further AI automation can continue to answer questions even when the leasing office was closed during the tour. From a property manager’s perspective, the latest multifamily technology from Yardi not only solves for social distancing and accessibility but reduces staff time spent following up on prospect questions or even leading in-person tours. Proptech trends for the commercial sector Rob Teel, senior vice president of global solutions at Yardi, shared that for him, the most overwhelming CRE proptech trend in the last 12 months has been increased technical adoption. “That means paperless and contactless transactions, and online communication. When I think about paperless transactions, one of the best examples of innovation that helps eliminate that last piece of paper in the organization – which we’re all trying to do – is our e-signature capability for leases. You can now publish a lease for signature, there’s no exchange of FedEx documents and no meeting to get a wet signature. Paperless transactions and...

Cascadia’s Success

How does Yardi Senior IQ help senior living leaders streamline operations, save time and ensure data integrity? Here to share first-hand experience is Cascadia Senior Living & Development, a Yardi client operating 13 senior living communities — with new developments and expansions on the way. Founded in 2013 and based in the Pacific Northwest, Cascadia manages senior housing properties with a focus on independent living, assisted living, memory care and respite care. With communities in Washington and Oregon, Cascadia provides excellent care in settings intentionally designed for interaction and engagement.  To learn more about their journey with Senior IQ, we interviewed Chief Financial Officer Michael Schefter. He broke down Cascadia’s challenges prior to using Senior IQ — and how the solution led the company to success.    The Challenge: Jeopardized Data Cascadia was manually pulling data from disparate sources. With rapidly expanding communities and a larger pool of metrics, data integrity became a primary concern. The demand for accurate, high-level insights meant Cascadia needed a single connected solution to minimize risks, streamline operations and save time.   The Solution: Yardi Senior IQ Yardi Senior IQ is a business intelligence solution that surfaces real-time data in attractive, sharable dashboards. Drawing portfolio-wide data from Yardi Voyager, the solution provides pre-configured Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that help visualize important metrics and industry benchmarks. Senior IQ provides the insights needed to act confidently and make smarter, faster decisions. The Story: Real-Time Data, Precise Insights & Streamlined Operations With Senior IQ as their BI solution, Cascadia’s data-pulling processes became automatic. No more devoting hours extracting raw data each month — manually searching for specific metrics, making calculations and transposing data into graphs and slide decks. And by working with the Yardi team to build custom dashboards, Cascadia began targeting...

Success through Sleep May24

Success through Sleep

Imagine that you’re 11 years old. You’ve completed your school day, assisted your family at the restaurant, finished your homework and dinner. You’re exhausted. Instead of crawling into a cozy bed, you walk to the corner of the bedroom that you share with your three siblings and take your place on the floor beside them. You’ll repeat the same draining routine the next day, and the next day, without a good night’s sleep. The volunteers at Sleep in Heavenly Peace Durham aim to end the cycle one handmade bed at a time. Sleep in Heavenly Peace Durham Robert Sweeney has a particular set of skills: he has army-inspired organizational skills, pays attention to detail, and hasn’t met a power tool that he didn’t like. Upon retirement, he sought a charity where he could put his talents and passion to good use. Sleep in Heavenly Peace (SHP) Durham was the perfect fit. After receiving training at the charity’s headquarters in Idaho, he founded his own chapter in Durham in 2018. “I am immensely proud to be a part of the SHP family and support their mission in this area. Not only do we get to deliver these beds to children who desperately need them, we are truly building a better community in the process,” says Sweeney. Sweeney and the team of volunteers at SHP Durham are part of an international network of community changers. Each chapter is filled with compassionate volunteers who want to ensure that “No Kid Sleeps on the Floor in our Town!” Sweeney recognizes the importance of a bed. It’s not just the aesthetics of a nicely decorated room. “A bed that you can call your own is something many of us take for granted.  Quality of sleep is directly correlated to quality of life,” says Sweeney. “When children do not get a good night’s sleep, it can often lead to poor performance at school and negatively impact their general well-being.” Poor sleep affects behavior and mental health: poor sleep can present as hyperactivity disorders as early as age five. In teens, 69% of depression diagnosis are also linked to poor sleep. Inadequate restful sleep can result in stunted growth, weakened immunity, and a struggle with memory and self-regulation. And without proper sleep, youths’ grades suffer. He adds, “And having your own bed is more than just a good night’s sleep. It’s where I went after school to do my homework. It’s where I’d read books and play with my siblings. Having your own bed means having your own personal space.”  Child bedlessness is more common and severe than you may think Roughly 3% of children in the U.S. have reported bedlessness. That’s more than 2.3 million kids on record who are sleeping on chairs, couches, and piles of clothes on the floor. In Durham, SHP has a waitlist several months long.  “The need is greater than any of us realize. The children who receive their new beds from SHP have often never had their own bed before. If they were lucky, they had a mattress on the floor,” Sweeney says. As the pandemic reached America, the organization had to stop accepting requests and put the current waitlist on a longer hold. This was particularly challenging because many breadwinners lost their jobs.  The fledgling nonprofit had just gained funding and momentum in 2019. During the pandemic, operations came to a halt just as members began to understand the severity of need in Durham. Yardi + Sleep in Heavenly Peace Durham: building more beds in 2021 It’s been challenging, but Sweeney and his chapter are back at building beds. They mostly work outside and vaccinated members have resumed deliveries. Yardi is a proud sponsor of SHP Durham. “We use the money to buy lumber, mattresses and other materials to make the beds from scratch,” explains Sweeney. “Luckily, we receive many new bedding components through donations, but when needed,...

Is Train Travel May23

Is Train Travel

Most people are aware of the challenges that the pandemic has posed for operators and customers of U.S. airlines, which moved 927 million passengers in 2019. How about train travel, which 32.5 million passengers – more than the population of Texas – chose during the 2019 fiscal year? As national railroad service Amtrak begins to recover from a 95% drop in ridership at the outset of the pandemic (vs. 96% for U.S. airlines), does it represent a viable alternative for travelers skittish about waiting in crowded airport check-in lines and being in an enclosed space at 35,000 feet? John Marroni, owner of National Restoration, thinks so. “While not ideal, as the lesser of the evils, trains are a moderately safer method of travel during this pandemic” than other transportation options. They’re also easier to disinfect because “the turnover per person is not as frequent as other means of public transportation,” says Marroni, whose Cherry Hill, N.J., company provides construction and painting services for properties suffering fire and water damage and also offers COVID-19 sanitation services. Safety measures instituted by Amtrak include mask requirements for staff and passengers, social distancing and protective plastic barriers. Trains have onboard filtration systems with a fresh air exchange rate every four to five minutes. Cleaning protocols encompass every seat, private room, baggage rack, bathroom, button, café car, dining car and other publicly shared spaces using an EPA-registered disinfectant before the train leaves. Amtrak maintenance crews also spray and wipe down all major touchpoints, including bathrooms, every couple of hours. It’s important, says Dr. Thomas Russo, chief of the division of infectious disease at the University at Buffalo, “to remember that most of the transmission of the coronavirus is respiratory.” That means following U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention...

Poll Results May21

Poll Results

Want real feedback on multifamily performance? We’ve got you covered with new poll data from a recent NAA virtual event. The April NAA Digital Studio, presented by Yardi, explored the theme of “Stronger NOI in 2021: Where do we grow from here?” Experts from leading multifamily companies across the country discussed how COVID-19 impacted the real estate industry and, more specifically, apartment management. Esther Bonardi, vice president of marketing at Yardi, moderated the interactive session, “React, Respond & Relate.” In this unique approach to a roundtable discussion, the group answered 10 questions in 10 minutes. Each poll revealed the impact of COVID on their organization. Attendees then had the opportunities to discuss the effects, their new practices and future goals. Attendees saw where they stood in relation to their peers and discovered actionable items to help strengthen their organizations. Here is what we discovered Digital Studio attendees represent a balanced mix of properties across major metros, mid-sized cities, suburbs and small towns. In the past year, 39% of attendees reported steady rental rates. About 33% saw an increase in rent rates, but the increase was not as substantial as in previous years. Interestingly, 31% of respondents noted an increase in occupancy in the last 12 months and 31% said that occupancy remained about the same. Only 19% saw decreased occupancy. The polls showed a vast majority of respondents (72%) experienced higher delinquencies than in past years. To handle the higher-than-normal quantity of late or missed payments, 26% of respondents piloted or adopted rent deferment and repayment technologies. Combined, those topics address the largest concerns on respondents’ minds. Polls reveal that 38% of respondents feel protecting and improving NOI was the biggest challenge frequently on their minds. As runner up, 25% were concerned with decreasing...