February rolls around, strawberries are coming into season. We here at Newby
Management are getting ready for our beloved Strawberry Socials. We are
preparing to undertake 30 different Strawberry Socials all across the state
of Florida and will travel hundreds of miles to serve our residents. This
might leave some of you wondering why Newby Management does Strawberry Socials.
Here at Newby Management, Strawberry Socials are a tradition that stretches back many years, starting in our founder’s childhood. Martin Newby grew up farming in Iowa. At the end of the season, his parents would invite the neighbors over, who brought homemade ice cream, and they would share their home grown strawberries. Just like that, the first Newby Strawberry Social commenced on a front lawn in Iowa.
Once Martin started Newby Management, he was always looking for great ways to provide exceptional customer service to the residents. Thinking back to his years in Iowa, he sought to recreate the Strawberry Socials of his youth. Now, all these years later, we still continue to serve strawberries to our residents. We here at Newby Management have a Strawberry Social season. Every year we look forward to engaging with our residents and serving delicious strawberry shortcakes that have been perfected over the years.
Do you ever wonder where time has gone? If you are like most people then you know that there never seems to be enough time. Serious study has been devoted by efficiency experts to find the best ways to make the most use of our time. We will discuss time management. Some of the solutions are no-brainers, yet sometimes it is less obvious moments that cause a loss in productivity.
If you are naturally inclined to live a busy, fast-paced life you might notice that a rigid schedule can maintain order and enhance productivity. The predictable and planned often do lead to accomplishing goals. Yet when the unexpected occurs such as traffic, sickness, childcare glitches then you can suddenly find yourself feeling overwhelmed and off track.
It seems to be an oxymoron when trying to be more productive to hear someone say take time to relax. There is something to be said for taking a well-deserved vacation, or simpler moments in the work day to go on a short walk. Unfortunately, today’s fast-paced society has given a green light to go and go as fast as you can, all day, every day. This ‘Type A’ living can be detrimental to your health. Taking breaks has been proven to reduce the stress that puts you at medical risk.
Another thing to consider are the things that steal time. In this modern age, we are in constant contact with the world. We wear smartwatches, carry cell phones, and travel with tablets and laptops. We are connected 24/7. Checking emails and surfing social media can easily rob our time. The next time you are in a public place look at those nearby. More often than naught, they will be looking at their phones not engaging with each other. In the workplace being ultra-connected can be counterproductive. Avoid distractions by scheduling blocks of time to interact with emails, texts, and social media.
There are other less obvious things that interfere with productivity. Be aware of when you work best, and save more challenging tasks for that time of day whenever possible. When we try to do things outside of our body’s natural rhythm, we can find it harder to stay focused. Keep in mind creature comforts have an impact, such as getting enough sleep or being hungry.
Good record keeping is essential to working more effectively. For many people, untidy work areas and clutter can create mental blocks. If you find yourself procrastinating or searching for lost items, take a look around your physical and digital workspace. Start each morning or end each day with reorganizing and decluttering your desk. If you lack inspiration, just spend a few moments searching for ideas on Pinterest. By doing this you will quickly see that some people have too much time on their hands. Although joking aside, there are many great ideas to save time and money.
Finally, we make it to the obvious productivity tool: the list. There are endless ways to create a good to-do list. A popular way of list making is to create a priority matrix. By dividing tasks into 4 quadrants it is easy to prioritize. The labels can vary, but usually gives each square a status like: do now, do later, urgent, or not urgent. Once you have a list, is there anything that can be delegated to someone else? Decide which things can be broken down into smaller tasks.
At Newby Management we value strong work ethic, but also value serving others. These two ideals are well paired together, yet sometimes clash when we are swamped with work. During these moments you may feel compelled to keep at a work task. It is easy to find yourself annoyed at having to direct focus to a resident coming in simply to chat. It is in these moments that your response can have an immense impact on the way you are perceived in your community. Think about the Bible story of Mary and Martha. Jesus put emphasis on knowing when it is important to lavish in the social rather than focusing solely on the tasks at hand. While there are moments that you cannot have a conversation, the way that is conveyed by your body language will speak volumes about your character.
Community managers often set the tone for the mood of their communities. This phenomenon can be observed in other business environments as well, where the front line management often sets the tone. These subtle atmospheric influences can be noted in other social scenarios such as churches and schools. Pretty much anywhere that people come together as groups we can see this underlying trend.
Something unique to note about community relations, in particular, is that if the manager of a community is perceived as warm and friendly there are likely to be happy and satisfied residents. There are some theories behind this, and they all involve the give and take of relationships. In a community setting, the manager will often find themselves in delicate role balancing relationships, rules, and conflict.
Relationships are important. Even in the animal world, there are many kinds of animals that appear to be engaged in friendship and deep connections to one another. This bonding is often essential to survival. The animals with the strongest social networks tend to live the longest. It is also notable that for people that connection is also a factor in health and longevity.
As humans we bond over food, through laughter, singing, dancing, telling stories and empathizing with one another. So why then is it so hard to make new friends as an adult? We deeply need connection, yet as we age at times we find ourselves sometimes isolated. As you get older, making friends is more challenging than the days of running up to some random kid on the playground and becoming an instant BFF. Here are some of the reasons it is staunchly more difficult as an adult.
•Meeting fewer people
•Fear of the unknown
What do you look for in a new friend? Think about how much of what you think makes a good friend is representative of yourself? Many of us make friends with people that have similar interests and connections. Joining a club, volunteering, engaging in activities are great ways to meet new people. Perhaps you already are part of a community but are not finding it easy to meet others. Here are some helpful things to consider.
•Look for common interests
Most of us have some fear of rejection. Yes, even the bravest of extroverts. Let’s look at the list closer. When we find things in common, it is easier to strike up a conversation. Be welcoming and be consistent. Show up at the same events, shop at the same time of day. Let yourself become a familiar face. Create a routine, where you immerse yourself in your environment. It takes more than just being present though, radiate joy. Give the first smile or quick wave. Think of some leading questions that give an opportunity for thoughtful answers. Avoid being negative or gossiping, as those can leave a bad taste in the mouth of a potential friend.
If you are a community manager reading this, take an introspective look at the kind of environment you are creating within your community. Do you instinctively smile and warmly greet guests, even when you are inundated with work issues and other conflicts. Do you encourage your residents to gather by hosting events? Events can be simple as coffee and walking clubs. Do you encourage residents to solve problems with one another, rather than listening as they spew negativity and gossip about others? Many times, the community manager can help resolve conflict and create new friendships by focusing on handling the conflict right at the source. Often a small misunderstanding not handled effectively can lead to great woes. Remind yourself that as the community manager you are setting the tone for your community, and that has immense relational repercussions or can be deeply rewarding when done well.
The way Americans are thinking about retirement is creating ripples of dramatic changes leading to a paradigm shift affecting policy, politics, behavior and the social fibers of our nation. As Baby Boomers reach the age of retirement many new challenges and opportunities are emerging.
Boomers are a diverse population, yet as a generality, Boomers do share some common ground with each other: Strong work ethic, self-assured, competitive, resourceful, disciplined, team-oriented. Boomers tend to have incredible focus on meeting their goals. It is no wonder that investors, retailers and even property managers are taking notice of the unique opportunities presented during this fundamental shift about the way American’s think of retirement.
10,000+ Baby Boomers are retiring daily, with that number increasing yearly. Life expectancy is longer than ever before. Boomers are arriving at retirement with expectations. Many of these coming of age folks want to enjoy their retirement years and anticipate spending the wealth they’ve accumulated, and taking a more leisurely pace in life. Alarmingly, in contrast, others have not saved enough, or have had their investments shaken by unstable economic conditions leaving some Boomers to anticipate working well into their golden years.
Retirement brings both relief and obstacles to the lives of Boomers. Boomers have been at the helm of their families, during their working years balancing career and family. Not surprisingly, many of this generation are arriving at retirement while still playing a vital role in the lives of their children and grandchildren, but many are also now needed as caretakers for aging parents. Some Boomers are choosing to purchase neighboring homes for their aging parents or move them closer, but with the peace of mind of a care facility to assist with the more physical aspects of caring for a loved one.
Another way that Boomers are addressing the challenges of retirement is by downsizing and purchasing affordable housing. Moving to Florida is a bucket list dream for many. Some Boomers opt to become snowbirds and enjoy the best of both worlds. The cost to live in Florida is comparable or lower than many other places in the nation. Florida has a lower tax rate and does not have a state tax which makes it quite enticing.
In the manufactured housing industry owners and investors know that they can offer some prime advantages to new retirees beyond just the economics. There has been considerable reinvestment in communities. It is clear that retirees want to enjoy their free time. Clubhouses, shuffleboard courts, billiards, and heated pools have become the standard. Retirees want to remain active. Tennis courts, pickleball, lap lanes in pools, and fitness centers have become very desirable amenities. Some larger communities even have golf courses, saunas, restaurants and more.
Community managers know that retirement is a social time. Planned activities are often a deciding factor for Boomers when choosing which community to settle into and call home. Many have moved south for the warm, sunny weather and the Florida lifestyle, leaving behind family and friends. This can be an overwhelming transition for some, but community living has advantages when it comes to staying active and making friends. As newcomers join activities, residents tend to be welcoming and their common interests create strong ties. They often report these new relationships feel like extended family and lifelong friendships have been created.
No doubt that even in retirement the Baby Boomers continue to be a generation that has changed our nation. Baby Boomers continue to redefine retirement. Aging is no longer about growing old gracefully, it is about living more, new beginnings, and chasing passions. And who is more qualified to challenge the status quo than the Baby Boomer generation?
How can you use strawberries to serve your customers? That’s easy! Top them with shortcake, whipped cream, and our favorite, ice cream.
At Newby Management, Strawberry Socials are a tradition that has continued for almost 30 years, hailing all the way back to our founder’s childhood. Martin Newby grew up on a farm in Iowa. Along with the normal crops, they also grew potatoes, cabbage, sweet corn and 3 1/2 acres of strawberries.
At the end of the season, his mom and dad had the idea to invite the neighbors to bring homemade ice cream and they would supply the delicious strawberries. The birth of the first Strawberry Social was enjoyed by some 200 people on the front lawn of the farm.
As an adult in business, Martin was always looking for ways to provide extraordinary customer service to his customers. As he researched, providing a quality experience for consumers was a good place to start. Thinking back to his teen years on the farm, he remembered the Strawberry Socials with fondness. He felt these could be recreated for all residents.
Today, these Strawberry Socials are a point of fun and excitement in our communities. Residents gather together to laugh, fellowship and share life together. These aren’t any strawberry desserts either. It all starts with a generous helping of vanilla ice cream, topped with a decadent piece of shortcake, followed with a large scoop of strawberries and finished with a dollop of whipped cream.
Newby Management team members head across the state during the months of February and March to help serve up these delicious deserts to residents. It’s a sweet way to give back to our residents through service.
Rows of Cherrios lined the walls and boxes of food filled the conference room. For one day, the team members at Newby Management turned into a food packing assembly line. As holiday music plays, team members gather to serve residents. For some team members, like Kelly Horalek, a corporate office accountant, this is her favorite day of the year.
At the holidays especially, we notice the needs of people around us. At Newby Management, the team noticed that some residents were struggling to feed their families, something that becomes especially difficult around Christmas. That was when they started delivering holiday food bags to residents in their communities who needed an extra hand.
This year the corporate office team packed an astounding 1,500 pounds of nonperishable food. It’s the kind of food most people take for granted, like peanut butter and jelly or oatmeal. But for some families, those staple items will go a long way.
138 bags were given away in total. The bags are personally delivered by a corporate team member, so the residents aren’t just getting food, they are getting encouragement too. While some residents need food care packages, others just need a bit of holiday cheer. For residents who had a difficult year, the team delivered fresh poinsettias to their homes. It’s just a simple reminder that they are being thought about during the holidays.
Serving residents in your mobile home community during the holidays can take on many different forms. Whether you do something big or something small, know that it can go a long way to boosting morale in your community. Sometimes the best thing you can do is to meet people where they are and love them.
Merry Christmas, from everyone at Newby Management.
One of the first things we learn as children is our name. It’s our identity. It’s often the first thing someone knows about us. When someone uses our name, we feel connected.
At Newby Management, the first of our Three Steps of Service states: “Always use a warm and sincere greeting. Use a person’s name if and when possible.” We covered the importance of using a warm and sincere greeting, and today we will discuss the importance of using a person’s name.
Imagine you go to a local coffee shop for the first time. The owner introduces himself, chats with you and makes you a latte. The next time you go in, the owner remembers your name and drink order. You’ll likely leave that coffee shop feeling very positive about your experience. You’ll feel appreciated as a person and as a customer.
We train our team members to use people’s names when possible because it not only encourages good customer service, it also encourages compassion. The simple act of using someone’s name can make their entire experience with you more positive. This is especially true if they are coming in to voice a complaint. When you use their name, they will feel as though they are important and that their issue will be addressed.
Remembering resident names may feel like a challenge if you’re bad with names. We have a few tips to help you start getting those names down.
Repeat their name out loud. For example, if they say their name is Jerry you can say “It’s nice to meet you, Jerry.”
Write their name down.
Associate their name with a picture or another person. Have you ever met someone and they said “Well, I won’t forget your name! It’s my dad’s name.” Think of a way to associate their name with something already in your memory.
Stay focused on the person as you interact and continue to use their name throughout the conversation.
Write down a small fact you learned about them next to their name, like “Jerry, from Ohio with two dogs.”
It’s easy to forget the importance of using someone’s name. In fact, it’s one of the most important resident relations tips we can give. If you’ve never been good at remembering names take it one person at a time. You’ll start seeing a difference in the way you interact with people right away!
What’s better than walking into a room full of people who are happy to see you? At Newby Management, that feeling has permeated our corporate lifestyle. The first of our three steps of service says “Always use a warm and sincere greeting. Use a person’s name if and when possible.”
Warm welcomes can take on different forms, whether it’s welcoming a new member to our team or a potential resident into our communities. When welcoming a new team member, we work to ensure they feel part of our work family. Employees want to feel valued and appreciated. This includes factors like proper training, introduction to key team members and follow-through on future questions. From this a tight-knit team is built.
These team members then go on to become the face of the community in which they work. They are often a potential resident or guest’s first impression. Within the communities, warm welcomes are especially important. Part of our culture is to use warm and sincere greetings, using names when possible. These small acts go a long way in making people feel important and valued.
At the community level, Newby Management encourages community managers to focus on residents when they come into the office. This means stopping work for the moment and focusing on the resident. The resident will feel their concerns are important and heard. They can see and feel when greetings are not warm and sincere. Often times, their mood will be reflected in our own. If you begin with a light and cherry attitude, they are likely to do the same.
These same principles apply when a team member leaves the company as well. If the parting is done under amicable circumstances, we always strive to offer fond farewells to our team members. Whether it’s words of encouragement, taking them to lunch or having a goodbye party, simple acts go a long way.
When residents or guests leave our office, we make sure to offer them a fond farewell! They will remember that you took the time to give them a little extra customer service.
You can probably see a pattern by now. The impression you give someone is lasting, and their feelings about you will live on long past their specific memories. For instance, in 2011 our team went to the Florida Aquarium for our annual Christmas party. As is customary, we personally thanked the kitchen crew and staff. Even though that was several years ago they still remember our company because of that small act.
Using warm welcomes and fond farewells is a part of our corporate culture that bridges the gap between people. It’s one that reminds us the value of all people in all circumstances. It helps us stop in our busy lives to thank and care for the people around us in a personal way, and that makes all the difference in the world.
Let’s say you’re going on vacation for a few weeks. You might think it’s a win-win situation to let your children use your home in a 55+ community so they can vacation in Florida. So, is this something that can be done?
First, it’s important to mention that rules and regulations will always vary depending on the community, so it’s best to check with them. However, a general rule is that guests of any age can stay in the home for up to 15 days at a time twice a year.
Technically, this means that your children could come and use your home while you were away, but they likely won’t be able to use any of the community amenities like the swimming pool. Often times, guests must have a resident present with them in order to use the community amenities. It’s usually best to check with your community before having guests stay in home your, whether you will be there or not.
You may also wonder if your children can inherit your home. A federal law governs the age of people living in a 55 plus community. The law states that at least 80 percent of people living in a 55 plus community must be over the age of 55, the other 20 percent can be no younger than the minimum age established for the community. That age is often 45.
That being said, there is no law currently that governs ownership of a home, so your children would be able to own your home no matter their age. Whether or not they would be able to inherit the home and live there is dependent on a few factors including the community and their age.
In general, having your children or grandchildren visit should not be an issue in most communities. If you’re planning on moving to a Florida 55+ community, be sure to ask what their visitation policies are prior to moving in. This will help save you headaches in the future.
Have other questions about moving to a Florida 55+ community? Email sales@NewbyRealty.com to find the perfect home for you! You can also download our free 55+ Moving Guide to find answers to questions like this and many more!