Meet Lauren Lehocky, the vibrant spirit behind Reside Living’s in-house athletic program that is one of its kind in residential property management. Her empathy and creativity shed light through the pandemic, bringing innovation and resident engagement. Lauren shares insights on the program, as well marketing tips on how to keep residents involved. Last, but certainly not least, she gives us a sneak peek of what’s to come for 2021.
What is your role at Reside Living?
I am the Director of the resident fitness and wellness program at Reside Living. My role is to build a sense of community amongst our 41 buildings and almost 3000 residents – all through the lens of fitness and wellness.
How does Reside’s in-house athletic program work?
We host weekly events for our residents, including yoga, high-intensity interval training, running groups, Cooking Club and intramural sports – there is something for everyone. We also venture out into the community to experience all the fitness and wellness options that Chicago offers, such as Orangetheory Fitness, Equinox, Studio Three and Green Circle Wellness. There’s always something going on!
Why did your company decide to have the program in-house?
We understand the value of health and wellness and the importance of community-building for our residents. Both of these provide us with a competitive advantage. Having it in-house also ensures that we are fully dedicated to our residents – we know what they want in a fitness and wellness program. All of this helps to keep them with us year after year.
What does the program do for your residents?
Reside creates a community for our residents. It’s not just about providing fitness classes or holding the occasional event. It’s about bringing people together. So often when someone moves into an apartment community, their life is contained within their four walls. Our program brings our residents together, not only at the property level but across our entire portfolio in Chicago. I have seen friendships grow out of our program because we offer people a fun way to connect with their fellow Reside residents.
The pandemic has shifted things – what does the program look like now and what does the future look like for 2021/2022?
Like everyone, I was anxious about what the 2020 landscape would do to our programming. Thankfully, I have great relationships with our vendors, so our weekly classes were moved to a virtual platform within two weeks of the citywide shutdown last March. What was exciting to me is that we reached a whole new group of residents – those who don’t have the time or want to commute to events. We know that virtual classes are not just a temporary replacement for in-person events – they can be a permanent part of our schedule.
What does health and wellness mean to you and how do you share your values on wellness with your residents?
In my mind, health and wellness are not aspirational. Anyone can be an active person – they just need to find what makes them happy to move. It’s not about looking a certain way, lifting a certain weight, or running at a certain pace. It’s about treating your body and mind with the respect they deserve! I try to make our events as open and welcoming as possible. I hope the variety in our schedule and my attitude towards fitness and wellness help residents find the desire to participate because I guarantee they won’t regret it.
So often when someone moves into an apartment community, their life is contained within their four walls. Our program brings our residents together, not only at the property level but across our entire portfolio in Chicago.
Virtual classes were successful for you during the pandemic. What made them a success?
We sent out a survey to residents, and while they are overwhelmingly in support of moving back to in-person classes, we know that there will always be a demand for a virtual option. Even those of us, like me, who thrive on in-person events, sometimes have a day when they just can’t swing it, and being able to access a Reside workout from the comfort of their apartment is a great option.
Can you give our readers some tips on how to promote events to their residents?
Consistency is key. Residents really like our weekly newsletter. If there isn’t anything new to share, we thank them for their participation and ask them for feedback on past events. I stay in contact with our residents and personally lead our activities to ensure I know what’s a success and what we can do differently. Social media is a great way to promote events in a fun engaging way. We also invite our employees to participate in the program. There is no better way to promote events to current and prospective residents than through your team’s first-hand experience!
Is there anything you’d like to highlight that you are working on in 2021?
We are excited to bring back intramural sports, as these are a resident favorite. We are currently putting together multiple beach volleyball teams now that the city is allowing certain intramural activities. I’m also hopeful that we can bring residents to sporting events in 2021. Who doesn’t love a Cubs game?
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