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As purveyors of printing, we were excited to learn that there was an entire “holiday” devoted to an unsung hero of our industry - printing ink! 

In this blog, we’ll delve into the origins of the holiday, the evolution of printing and the difference between printer and toner. 

An Elusive History

Very little information exists about the origins of National Printing Ink Day, but it’s rumored to have started back in 1977. As legend has it, the goal was to not only recognize the pivotal role that ink plays in the printing industry, but to recognize the ink manufacturers, printers and designers responsible for creating the printed materials we use on a daily basis.

As Ronald C. Barker, former president of the National Association of Printing Ink Manufacturers (NAIPM), so eloquently noted: 

“Today, in this era of satellites, television and electronic message transmission, it is still the printed word and picture to which our society turns for permanence, for clarity, for study and for continued use and enjoyment. We, in NAPIM, look to the talented, career-minded young people in our printing colleges and technical institutes to carry on the standards of value, quality and service which has been maintained by the printing ink industry over the years."

Though unclear if it was intentional, Printing Ink Day very fittingly falls in the middle of International Printing Week. A thinly veiled celebration of the birthday of Benjamin Franklin, International Printing Week was the brainchild of the International Association of Printing House Craftsman (IAPHC). 

Launched in 1944, International Printing Week used to be observed by printing clubs and printers around the country. The occasion would be marked with special activities, public events, newspaper articles and even lavish dinner parties. The IAPHC often issued special stamps for envelopes, posters and books to support the weeklong celebration.

Over the years, the celebrations have, naturally, evolved. Today, university art departments and graphic industry experts use the week as an opportunity to  celebrate their work and share new innovations.

A Brief History of Printing

Printing has quite a long and illustrious history. Let’s take a quick look at how we’ve gotten to where we are today. 

Woodblock Printing

Woodblock printing is cited as the earliest form of printing. It was developed in China in roughly 200 A.D. As implied by its name, woodblock printing involves carving a design into a block of wood, inking the raised part, placing paper on top and applying pressure to create an image. The invention of this process marked the first time in recorded history that a design could be accurately and efficiently replicated. 

Movable Type

Also developed in China, movable type became popular in 1041. Specifically used to print script, movable type gave printers the flexibility to configure individual letters in any order. The first tiles were made from clay. 

Printing Press

A household name in printing, Johann Gutenberg invented the game-changing printing press in 1440. Leveraging the concepts of movable type and woodblock printing, Gutenberg managed to successfully consolidate the two processes into a single hand-operated device. The printing press dramatically increased the speed at which printed materials could be produced, bringing a new level of knowledge to all classes. The bible was the first book Gutenberg mass produced, and in 1455, he churned out a staggering 180 copies. 

Etching

The next phase of printing came in 1515 in the form of etching, a process inspired by Middle Ages armour decorating. To create an etched print, a plate made from copper or zinc is coated in an acid-resistant substance (Etching Ground) and drawn on with a sharp tool. The plate then receives an acid bath, removing any areas not protected by Etching Ground. Paper is placed on the plate and sent through a press to create a print. 

Lithography

Still in use today, lithography hit the scene in the 1790s. This technique involves drawing an image onto limestone with an oil-based medium and then covering the stone with acacia-based gum. The solution is then removed with lithographic turpentine,  and the ink only takes where it’s required.

Offset Printing

A process virtually unchanged to this day, offset printing was introduced in 1875. Ink is transferred from a plate to a rubber blanket to the printing surface. In tandem with lithography, offset printing is commonly used today to produce magazines, posters and large format prints.

Screen Printing

Screen printing was actually developed by the Chinese between 960 - 1279 A.D., but wasn’t widely adopted until the 1910s. In this process, ink is pushed through a mesh stencil onto textiles or paper. 

Inkjet Printing

The advent of inkjet printing in 1951 eliminated the need for direct paper contact, as  ink is applied through jet spray. 

Laser Printing

Leveraging the jet technology of 1951, laser printing was Introduced in 1969. It produces high-quality images by passing a laser beam back and forth over a negatively charged cylinder within the printer. The printer then collects electrically charged powdered ink to transfer the image to the paper. 

Digital Printing

Making its debut in 1991, digital printing made it possible to print directly from a digital file – and subsequently made home printers a viable option. 

Now that we’ve made our way back to present day, let’s delve into the ingredients of modern printing techniques - ink and toner! 

The Great Debate: Printing Ink vs. Toner

Though the two terms are often used interchangeably, and both are used in printing, ink and toner are vastly different. 

Ink is a liquid composed of water, chemicals and colorants, and it’s used exclusively in inkjet printers. To apply ink to paper, inkjet printers emit very small amounts of ink through tiny nozzles and onto the paper as it passes through. 

Inkjet printers typically have the ability to print in black and full color, and they use several cartridges at one time (black, cyan, magenta, yellow). 

Toner, on the other hand, is a very fine, statically charged powder made of organic compounds and polymers. Used in the laser printing process, toner is fused onto a page. An electrostatic template of a printout is created by a laser on an internal drum, and when toner is released, it clings to all areas that are electrostatically charged. When paper passes over the drum, the image is imposed. Laser printers are two to three times faster than inkjet printers, making them a great choice for text-based documents. 

In general, toner has a longer life cycle than ink, and it tends to be more expensive. 

This concludes your crash course on printing! 

Want a reason to celebrate Printing Ink Day at your multifamily property? We’ve got you covered. Our printer amenity solution, PrintWithMe, is the hands-free and hassle-free way to offer convenient printing to residents and on-site teams. If you’re interested in leveling up your printer, let’s talk

The month of October is a celebration of all things spooky and scary.

Ghosts. 

Ghouls.

Goblins. 

Cyber threats?

Halloween may be October’s most infamous holiday, but there’s another noteworthy occasion that also deserves your attention - National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Between the recent onslaught of data privacy legislation and the vulnerabilities introduced by the explosive growth of AI, you’ll be forever haunted if you fail to adequately protect the sensitive data in your possession.

To help multifamily operators avoid a data privacy nightmare, WithMe hosted a webinar led by two renowned data privacy attorneys - Lisa Angelo and Kaylee Cox Bankston. The pair discussed the current legislative landscape, the implications of AI and strategies for managing risks. 

Here are seven key takeaways.

Multifamily operators are not immune to cyber risk. 

Read that again. 

Historically, the multifamily industry has fallen under the radar when it comes to data privacy and security matters. 

But, whether you realize it or not, the automation, smart home technologies and tech-enabled amenities that have gained popularity in recent years gather an incredible amount of data about individuals that could be considered sensitive - where people live, what their habits are, where they are and when. 

Further complicating the matter is that these “smart” services and amenities are typically provided by third parties. If you're not fully aware of how your vendors and subcontractors are using the data collected by these technologies, you’re putting yourself at risk. 

CCPA is the current gold standard. 

Multiple states have already passed or are in the process of passing data privacy laws - but with no uniformity or consistency (for more on this topic, read our recent white paper). There are rumors of a federal bill, but in the interim, the California Consumer Privacy Act California is the gold standard, as it is the most strict and comprehensive. If you operate in multiple jurisdictions, the simplest way to guarantee compliance is to meet all CCPA standards and tweak accordingly per state. 

REITs should take note of new SEC cybersecurity rules. 

The recently finalized rules are a disclosure requirement. They don’t mandate what specific security controls companies must have in place. Instead, they dictate what companies must disclose about their programs in the event of a material cybersecurity incident. 

Additionally, there are also disclosure requirements on the risk management and governance side. There's a requirement that companies explain how they are approaching, managing, monitoring and overseeing cyber risk. It’s unlikely companies will need to describe every nuance and detail of their program, but it does have to reflect the actual structure of the organization and the way it is managing cyber risk. 

The actual effect of the SEC rules will likely be to drive more comprehensive risk management structure.

AI legislation is looming.

AI has already proved to be a powerful tool to increase efficiency. However, in light of the reactive approach we have seen by regulators in terms of cyber and privacy regulation, they are aggressively trying to get ahead of the regulation of AI.  

Proposed AI legislation takes a risk-based approach. Regulators want to see responsible use and a calculated decision around what level of risk is acceptable in the use and development of AI technologies. They are looking closely at instances where AI could have a significant impact on people's lives and potentially lead to harm (i.e., loss of life, bias, discrimination). 

For example, in a move directly adjacent to multifamily, the DOJ civil rights division recently filed a statement of interest explaining that the Fair Housing Act applies to algorithm-based tenant screening services. That being said, as you're looking to leverage various technologies to make your processes more efficient, be mindful of how they are being developed and deployed, because there are clear statements from existing regulators stating they believe existing laws around protection of discrimination and bias would apply to these technologies. 

The takeaways? As you're engaging with different companies and investigating how they're using AI, ensure they're not being deployed in a way that could be perceived or have the effect of discriminatory impacts.

Develop a thorough understanding of how personal information is being processed in your business.

One of the most straightforward ways to manage cyber risk is data mapping and developing an understanding of how personal information is processed in your business. How does it come in? Where does it go? How is it being used? How does it exit? 

Not only will data mapping help you clearly identify all third parties that are processing data for you, it will also help you with compliance, allowing you to pinpoint where you have gaps that need to be filled.

Document your due diligence. Question everything.  

If a vendor says they're not using personal information, don’t take that at face value. You still need to form your own conclusions. 

Proposed regulations include increased expectations around taking ownership and accountability for vendor management and appropriate diligence. Take the time to carefully document the diligence procedures you follow for each vendor. 

Resident printing is a hidden and significant source of risk in multifamily. 

If residents are emailing documents to staff members, there’s no way to prevent information from being viewed, distributed or retained. 

As reported by The Washington Post, a frightening number of third-party printing services are reading, storing and selling confidential user information. 

One of the only printing services that is transparent about its data collection practices is PrintWithMe. Multifamily’s first secure amenity solution, PrintWithMe is compliant with data privacy laws, including CCPA.

For more scary good information on cyber risk management, watch the playback of the webinar here

One of WithMe's core values is customer obsession. We routinely survey our clients to gather feedback about their experience and satisfaction with our resident printer amenity, PrintWithMe.

Our latest survey was completed by multifamily professionals representing hundreds of properties across the United States. We asked participants to tell us which aspects of PrintWithMe they find most valuable - and why. Here are the top five answers, accompanied by candid feedback.

1: Ease of Use

PrintWithMe was designed to make resident printing simple and convenient. Completely wireless and self-serve, residents can quickly print from any electronic device by uploading documents via the PrintWithMe website, iOS app, or email.

"I absolutely love PrintWithMe. They make it so easy to keep the machine up and running. The technology is user-friendly for my residents, and we always get our supply shipments on time. This has become a much more popular amenity in my building since we switched to PrintWithMe!" -Hayley Morgan, Greystar.

2: Hands-Off Maintenance

PrintWithMe is virtually hands-off for on-site teams. Devices are remotely monitored for technical issues, and low supply levels. When paper or toner runs low, replacements are automatically shipped. Plus, all technical support is handled by the PrintWithMe team.

"PrintWithMe has been an easy solution to an amenity that was constantly causing headaches for residents and our staff. We know the monthly cost, and there is an inherent value in not having unexpected issues with the printer itself, supplies on hand or resident error." - Emily Paulino, Village Green.

3: Resident Satisfaction

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that a community printer was the most-desired amenity in multifamily.

PrintWithMe offers residents 24/7 access to wireless printing, as well as live support 7 days a week. They no longer have to rely on on-site teams to print their documents during normal business hours - or deal with the constant aggravation of an unreliable device. Convenient, reliable access to a top amenity leads to increased resident satisfaction and higher retention.

"PrintWithMe has been an excellent solution to our residents' printing needs. It's easy, convenient, and works great. I was surprised at how much use it gets! Plus, it reduces our workload and requires practically no maintenance. Truly a must-have for any residential property!" - Stephen Seltzner, Simpson Housing.

4: Automatic Paper & Toner Shipments

The WithMe team remotely monitors the paper and toner levels of every PrintWithMe device. As soon as one starts to get low, a new supply is shipped immediately. The only thing the property has to worry about is filling the paper tray and installing new cartridges.

"PrintWithMe takes printing out of the property's hands almost completely. Our residents find it easy to use, and we never have to worry about running out of paper or toner! PrintWithMe takes care of everything in the background, and we get to forget about our printer until a new paper delivery arrives - a delivery we didn't have to ask for!" -Chelsey Brinson, Core Spaces.

5: Wireless Printing from Personal Devices

PrintWithMe gives residents 24/7 access to wireless printing. Documents can be uploaded at any time, anywhere, from any wireless device through our website, in our app, or by email.

"The communication with PrintWithMe is fantastic. They are always responsive to our needs, and our residents enjoy the ease of not having to disturb management for copies. It's self-serve, which is what people want." -Conrad Fultz, RC Residential Management.

Interested in finding out even more reasons why multifamily professionals love PrintWithMe? Check out our survey results report.

More Reasons Why You Will Love PrintWithMe

Our survey shed light on the top reasons multifamily properties love PrintWithMe.

But there’s more.

You're already aware of the staples that make a multifamily property stand out — modern amenities, strategic location, and top-notch security. And you're undoubtedly aware of the reasons multifamily property owners love PrintWithMe. But what if we told you there's so much more that self-service printers bring to the table? From convenience to savings, PrintWithMe adds so much more that changes how current and potential residents see your property.

Self Service Amenities Are on the Rise

Self-service amenities are swiftly becoming a cornerstone of modern living as residents increasingly seek ways to streamline and simplify various aspects of their daily routines. This growing demand spans a wide array of services, from the convenience of using printers to the simplicity of grabbing a morning coffee from an automated machine. The essence of this shift lies in the desire for immediacy, efficiency, and autonomy in managing one's time and tasks without the need for direct interaction or assistance.

The appeal of PrintWithMe resonates strongly with the modern resident's preference for self-service solutions. PrintWithMe directly addresses the growing demand while making life easier for multifamily property owners. This effortless solution takes the stress out of growing and advancing your property.

Cost-Effectiveness for Residents

Let's talk numbers. Owning a personal printer sounds great until you start adding up the costs of ink, paper, and maintenance. And for those who don't print documents daily, the investment hardly seems worthwhile. This is where PrintWithMe steps in to save the day — and some dollars. By providing a communal, high-quality printer, both residents and property owners can enjoy the flexibility of printing whenever they need without the financial burden of owning and maintaining a printer. This setup is wallet-friendly while bringing quality prints and tech to your building.

It Improves the Appeal of the Property

Prospective tenants touring your property and discovering a PrintWithMe printer on-site add profound benefits. This amenity instantly elevates the property's appeal, showcasing your commitment to modern conveniences and technology. In an age where renters have countless options at their fingertips, amenities like these can set your property apart. A self-serve printer can help make a statement that your property can and will meet the lifestyle demands of today's and tomorrow's renters.

Residents Love the Environmental Friendliness of PrintWithMe

Residents are increasingly looking for eco-friendly living options, and PrintWithMe printers align perfectly with this ethos. By centralizing printing services, property managers can significantly reduce waste and promote more responsible use of resources. This can also bring a larger culture of sustainability within your community. Plus, with advanced features, PrintWithMe printers make it easy for residents to play their part in protecting the planet.

Self-Service Printers Help Build a Community

Beyond the convenience and cost savings, PrintWithMe printers foster a sense of community among residents. Shared amenities create natural gathering points and opportunities for interaction, strengthening the social fabric of your property. Whether it's a quick chat while waiting for a document to print or a shared appreciation for the convenience of on-site printing while working from home, these interactions add to a vibrant, connected community. That adds a level of comfort that separates your multifamily property from others.

PrintWithMe Simplifies Self-Service Printing — Learn More Today

PrintWithMe is about providing an indispensable amenity that enhances the living experience for every resident. From bolstering the appeal of your property to supporting eco-friendly initiatives and fostering a sense of community, the benefits of incorporating PrintWithMe printers are massive.

Embrace the future of multifamily amenities with PrintWithMe. Elevate your property, delight your residents, and join the ranks of innovative property owners who understand the value of convenience, community, and sustainability. See how PrintWithMe can transform your property by bringing it right to your doorstep!

At WithMe, one of our core values is customer obsession. We routinely survey our clients to gather candid feedback about their experience with our amenity solutions and gain perspective on the multifamily industry at large.

Our latest survey, which was completed by multifamily professionals representing hundreds of properties across the United States, revealed interesting insight into amenity utilization.

We asked participants to rank the average utilization of several popular amenities at their properties.

The final results may surprise you.

These are the five amenities participants said their residents utilize most frequently:

  1. Fitness Center
  2. Coffee Bar
  3. Outdoor Amenities
  4. Community Printer
  5. Package Lockers

Our internal usage data corroborates those rankings. In communities with access to PrintWithMe, our resident printer amenity solution, the average unit utilization rate is a staggering 82%.

The average unit utilization rate of SipWithMe, our resident coffee amenity solution, is 51.7%. Studies have shown that roughly 66% of the U.S. population drinks coffee every day. So, of the eligible coffee-drinking resident population, SipWithMe is utilized by 76%.

Especially if you are budgeting for new amenities or improvements to existing ones, it’s important to know which amenities residents are actually using. Check out our survey results report for the full ranked list.

It makes sense that residents want fitness centers.

There’s something invigorating about having a fitness center just a few steps away from your doorstep. The convenience factor is a massive draw, especially for those balancing busy schedules. A quick morning workout or an evening session to de-stress becomes infinitely easier. Plus, the savings on gym memberships and travel time are nothing to scoff at.

These apartment amenities support physical health while fostering a sense of community among residents who regularly use the facility.

With the integration of smart home technology, your fitness center can even bring personalized workout suggestions and progress tracking, further enhancing the user experience.

Coffee is a bigger part of life than you may think!

If you're not an avid coffee drinker, you might not get it. But PLENTY of people love coffee, so the convenience of having access to it right in your home is something that makes a big difference.

There's a reason why people craft their own coffee stations and why many TikTok and YouTube lifestyle videos start with a cup of coffee.

At this point, it's a lifestyle at this point, so you don't want to miss out on adding a coffee bar or station to your property.

An added benefit?

People love to chat it up and have a great time with the community around them, and a coffee station is just one area where you can encourage that. Students love coffee, too! With many studying late into the night and early morning, having access to a coffee bar at their apartment complex can be a major convenience for them. It can also be a great selling point for student housing properties looking to attract new residents.

Who doesn't love the outdoors?

Green spaces, rooftop gardens, or even simple BBQ areas significantly enhance the quality of life in multifamily housing. They offer a slice of nature and a breath of fresh air amidst urban settings, making them invaluable community amenities. These outdoor spaces are communal hubs where all your residents can connect and unwind. Whether it’s hosting a weekend grill party or enjoying a quiet read under the sun, the allure of well-maintained outdoor amenities is something you don't want to neglect. Incorporating elements of smart home technology into these areas, such as automated lighting and weather-responsive features, only heightens their appeal.

Printers are still needed for many residents.

The need for physical documents hasn’t vanished. Having access to a printer within a multifamily property eases the stress of last-minute printing needs. This amenity is appreciated by students and professionals alike, highlighting the multifaceted roles apartment amenities play in catering to residents' diverse needs. It's a nod to your residents by showing that you understand the convenience of having a printer.

The shift to online shopping makes package lockers a MUST.

Online shopping has become a staple of modern living, bringing about the need for secure package handling solutions. Enter package lockers — an amenity that addresses this need perfectly. Package lockers provide a safe and convenient way for your residents to receive their deliveries at any hour, without the worry of theft or misplacement. It brings a layer of convenience and peace of mind to the online shopping experience.

WithMe makes implementing a coffee station or printer amenity a breeze.

WithMe simplifies the integration of a coffee station or printer amenity, covering the ins and outs so you can focus on providing your residents with exceptional service. Clearly, people value the ability to grab a gourmet coffee on their way out the door or print a document without leaving the building. So why not invest in both? Through streamlined management and maintenance, WithMe keeps your amenities operating at their best, further solidifying the appeal of apartment amenities in the eyes of current and prospective residents.

If you haven’t already heard, community printers are all the rage in multifamily right now. With recent mentions in The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post, forward-thinking property management professionals have turned their attention to this small amenity that is making a major impact on operational efficiencies, cost savings and resident satisfaction.

How Chicago's The Madison at Racine Transformed Resident Printing: A True Story

The following is a success story that highlights how one Class A property in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood made life better for residents and staff alike by implementing PrintWithMe, multifamily's elevated printer amenity.

The year is 2016. 

Residents at Chicago’s The Madison at Racine, a luxury high rise in the Lincoln Property Company portfolio, are relying solely on the property management team for their printing needs. 

Processing print jobs for 216 apartment homes is no small feat, and it has become a heavy burden for the property management team to bear. 

Residents are growing increasingly frustrated at the amount of time it is taking for the staff to print their documents, and they are also aggravated by the fact that they are only able to print during leasing office hours. 

In a building with top-tier amenities - including a fitness center with skyline views, an outdoor rooftop sundeck, concierge service and functional work spaces - this antiquated approach to printing makes zero sense.

After two years of printing insanity, the management team has finally had enough. They reach out to WithMe for help. 

Installing a PrintWithMe device completely changed the game for everyone at The Madison at Racine. And it didn’t just fill a need. It offered an experience that complemented the superior quality of all of the other amenities the residents had come to know and love. 

To this day, residents at The Madison at Racine enjoy having the ability to print from anywhere, any time, from any wireless device. And because of PrintWithMe’s advanced data security protocols, they no longer have to worry about how their personal information is being handled or used. 

Residents aren’t the only ones who have benefited. Thanks to having access to live support 7 days a week, the staff no longer has to handle printer troubleshooting and repair. Thanks to having paper and toner automatically shipped to their door, they no longer have to make trips to the store. Thanks to all-inclusive pricing, their budgeting is hassle-free. And thanks to PrintWithMe’s advanced security features, they have one less vulnerability to worry about as data privacy legislation rolls out. 

Since installation, 820 residents have printed 35,853 pages with an 8/10 satisfaction rating. Who knew a printer could have such an impact?!

If it’s time to level up your resident printing, let’s talk!

Printers are certainly getting their 15 minutes of fame.

Earlier this year, The Wall Street Journal reported that a community printer is the unsung amenity that multifamily renters desire most.

And today, in a nod to Shark Week, The Washington Post launched a week-long exposé of the infamous piece of office equipment, declaring, "No other device inspires more fear and loathing than the printer."

Shortly after "Printer Week" was announced on The Washington Post's socials, the scathing comments started rolling in.

"The only good HP printer is a dead, smashed, ground up into tiny pieces HP."

"I understand the concern, but it's a known fact all printers are out to get us. They can sense fear, panic when you're on a deadline. You know I'm right."

Ouch.

One of the major issues with today's printing technology, as pointed out in Tatum Hunter's eye-opening article, is the fact that manufacturers and service providers are collecting personal data and selling it to the highest bidder.

Not cool.

Enter PrintWithMe.

While we can't erase the pain caused by printers past, we can help you experience the power of positive printing.

As Hunter reiterates in the article, PrintWithMe "temporarily stores printed documents with a third-party cloud provider, but only for 24 hours." We're not in the business of profiting off your personal information.

Here's a closer look at the specific safeguards we have in place:

We are grateful to Tatum Hunter and The Washington Post for shedding light on this important topic, especially considering the fact that printing isn't an obvious source of data compromise.

2023 is going to be a landmark year for data privacy legislation. As new laws are enacted, consumers are going to have significant recourse when their information is misused or mishandled, and business owners are going to have to seriously rethink their approach to data management.

Whether you're printing important documents or providing a printing service, PrintWithMe can help you keep personal information out of the wrong hands. We are a trusted printer partner in over 3,500 locations across all 50 states, and we serve over 1 million apartment homes. Since 2014, more than 2 million unique users have printed over 60 million pages.

If you're interested in bringing PrintWithMe to your multifamily property or your business, get in touch. To safely print important documents, find your nearest PrintWithMe kisok.

If you’re printing something on actual paper, there’s a good chance it’s important, like a tax form or a job contract.

But popular printing products and services won’t promise not to read it. In fact, they won’t even promise not to share it with outside marketing firms.

Ideally, printing services should avoid storing the content of your files, or at least delete daily. Print services should also communicate clearly upfront what information they’re collecting and why. Some services, like the New York Public Library and PrintWithMe, do both.

As of May 2023, 11.9% of full-time employees in the United States were exclusively working from home. Another 29.4% were working in hybrid models. 

Upwork estimates that by 2025, an estimated 32.6 million Americans will be working remotely, equivalent to roughly 22% of the workforce. 

The numbers don’t lie. Remote work is here to stay. 

So what does this mean for the multifamily industry? It means residents will continue to need more places where they can comfortably and efficiently conduct business.

Chicago is no exception. Tamina Sheikh, senior regional property manager at Chicago’s Lincoln Property Company, says, “In my properties, we see a revolving door in common spaces. It’s not the same people every single day, but I would say, on any given day, it’s about 20 - 30% of the property that is working from home.”

To cope with this increased demand for remote work space, multifamily property residents have started getting creative with where they conduct business (think golf simulators and mail rooms). This is forcing properties to create flexible communal spaces that are comfortable for both work and recreation.

According to Sheikh, “I think it’s still very important to have robust amenity offerings, but it’s also crucial to think through how somebody might work from each of those individualized spaces. Because they will.”

How exactly are properties making existing amenity spaces flexible? Here are three examples: 

As a more permanent solution to the need for dedicated coworking spaces, many properties are investing in full retrofits of outdated business centers or underutilized amenity spaces (theaters are a common one).

If a retrofit is in your future, consider these key investments as you build your budget: 

Thoughtful FF&E and design aesthetics are critical in creating great coworking spaces, but technology is, frankly, non-negotiable. Where is your money best spent? Here are four smart investments:

To help reduce the burden of vendor management, it’s advantageous to work with platform companies that offer multiple solutions. 

WithMe falls into that category, offering elevated printing and coffee amenities with perks for residents and on-site teams.  

PrintWithMe’s all-inclusive packages make budgeting easy, while outsourced technical support and auto-shipped supplies reduce the burden on property management teams. Residents love having 24/7 access to reliable printing and live support if they ever run into issues. It’s been a huge hit at The Paragon in South Loop.

SipWithMe also boasts budget-friendly, all-inclusive pricing and outsourced technical support. Residents love being able to order 20+ roast-to-order beverages in the comfort of their own building.. Not only has SipWithMe helped to elevate the resident experience at 6 Class A properties in Chicago, it’s also reduced their coffee expenses by 49%!

When you’re ready to invest in elevated printer and coffee amenities for your remote workers (and the rest of your deserving residents), click here to schedule a conversation with us! 

ZRS Management recently hosted their annual ZRS Education & Discovery Conference (ZED) in Hollywood, Florida. ZED was specifically designed to educate property managers, leasing professionals and the corporate team about the incredible difference technology can make in areas such as leasing, amenities and marketing. 

Dozens of multifamily vendors, including WithMe, showcased tech-enabled amenities, products and software designed to grow business, support property management teams and increase resident satisfaction. 

Here are 3 key takeaways from ZED 2023: 

1. Invest in the technology that's right for you and your property.

We have all been known to think we can cut costs and even do things better on our own, but that isn’t always the case. In many instances, technology can not only help you reduce expenses, it can also make life better. Don’t get so set in your ways that you neglect to consider the positive value of investing in technology. 

How exactly do you go about finding the technology that will give you the greatest return on your investment? 

First and foremost, identify the amenities or the tasks that cause you the most stress, time and expense. 

Once you’ve identified your pain points, start researching! At conferences and trade shows, make time to visit with exhibitors. Ask your colleagues for insight on what’s been working for them. Keep an eye on trade publications for product announcements, reviews and case studies. 

Technology isn’t one-size-fits all. Take time to find the solutions that increase your efficiency, provide the highest ROI and improve your quality of life. 

2. Always provide exceptional service and maintain a high standard of professionalism. 

When selecting vendors and products, stop to evaluate the impact on the overall quality of the service you’re providing. Automation and centralization can certainly maximize efficiency, but they can also end up creating a cold and impersonal experience. At the end of the day, your residents are people, too, and they deserve to feel valued and important. 

3. Use amenities to reduce employee stress and burnout. 

Attracting residents is tough. But right now, attracting and retaining great multifamily employees is arguably even tougher. 

Your team shouldn’t have to sacrifice their sanity to keep residents happy. It’s important to identify amenity solutions that work for you, not against you. 

While showcasing SipWithMe at ZED, the WithMe team received multiple comments from property managers about how helpful it would be to have a fixed cost for their coffee amenity. Budgeting season is just around the corner. Wouldn’t it be nice to have fewer line items to scrutinize and blindly forecast? Tech-enabled amenities can make that possible! 

Tech-enabled amenities can also reduce time-consuming tasks that create stress and major headaches. Dealing with supplies, for example. Your team has better things to do than try to remember to monitor supply levels and make emergency trips to the store when they forget to reorder things on time. Services like PrintWithMe remotely monitor supply levels and ship them right to your door, right when you need them. 

PrintWithMe and SipWithMe may or may not be the right solutions for your property, but the point is that it’s important to implement technology that makes life better for everyone in your community, and that includes your staff. When your team members are happy, they’re more engaged. And when they’re more engaged, you’re more likely to retain them. 

We hope these takeaways are helpful as you formulate future property management and resident acquisition strategies, and we hope to see you at ZED 2024!

Woody Stone, Cushman & Wakefield’s president of U.S. multifamily asset services, recently went on record to discuss the company’s goal to use technology and proptech to improve the team member experience. 

“Today’s staffing challenges, both in finding and retaining staff and in the escalating payroll costs, are pushing us to innovate,” Stone tells Multifamily Executive

One proptech solution being used by several Cushman & Wakefield properties is PrintWithMe, a printer amenity that offers residents an elevated wireless printing experience.

The service has proven to be an ideal fit for Cushman & Wakefield’s culture. In the words of Stone, “We are committed to creating a culture where we ‘Care First and Care Most’ for our clients, residents, and team members. This is what defines us.”

PrintWithMe takes care of Cushman & Wakefield residents by giving them 24/7 access to an amenity they love (take it from the Wall Street Journal), while keeping their personal information protected.

The solution takes care of property management teams by outsourcing all technical support, automatically shipping paper and toner when supplies are running low, and simplifying the budgeting process. Removing these operational burdens has helped reduce staff stress, prevent burnout and allow team members to focus on more important and more valuable tasks. 

WithMe’s mission is to make lives better every day, and we are proud to be helping Custhman & Wakefield keep its promise to Care First and Care Most about its teams and its residents.

Interested in elevating the printer amenity at your property? Click here to find out how to become a PrintWithMe partner.