How often does your staff travel? Do they regularly visit the same few cities, maybe to keep in touch with a branch office or a big client? How long do they stay in their new location? If the answers to these questions are often, yes, and a week or more, it’s time to start thinking about corporate housing.
What is corporate housing? Simply put, it is an apartment or home that is rented by a corporation, not by an individual. The corporation then makes the housing available to its staff. If your staff regularly travel to the same cities, having corporate housing in those cities can save you significant money on hotel costs. It can also help make your staff members feel more comfortable during long travel periods, since they will have access to the usual amenities of home such as a kitchen, a washer/dryer, and a space to relax after a hard day’s work.
Do the math: add up the amount of money your company is currently spending on hotel costs for your employees. Then look at the average furnished studio rental rates in the same cities. If a furnished studio costs less than what you are currently paying in hotels, it’s time to make the switch.
There are two ways of going about securing corporate housing for your staff. The first way is to rent a basic, unfurnished studio or one-bedroom apartment and furnish it yourself. This method requires a large amount of upfront costs and work — after all, you have to supply everything the apartment needs, from bath towels to silverware — but will eventually cost less than renting a furnished apartment, if you keep the apartment for a long enough period of time.
The other way, and the way chosen by the majority of businesses, is to rent a furnished corporate apartment. These apartments are designed to meet the needs of the fast-paced business world, and include professional-level amenities like high speed internet and housekeeping services. There are numerous corporate apartment companies in nearly every major city, so shop around until you find one that you like.
Here are a few things to be aware of as you make the transition to corporate housing:
First, remember that your company is renting the apartment, not your individual staff members. If a staff member damages the apartment, ultimately you are responsible for making sure the damage is repaired and the costs are covered. Likewise, if you let the apartment stand empty for a long period of time, you are still responsible for making sure it does not fall into bad condition. A leaky faucet that goes unnoticed for six months can become a big problem, and one for which your company must take responsibility.
Second, don’t forget about location. If you are regularly sending employees to New York City, for example, finding furnished apartments in NJ will cost much less than finding equivalent apartments in NYC. Many New Yorkers commute from New Jersey every day, and there is a huge infrastructure of commuter trains designed to get people in and out of the city quickly. Similarly, if you’re sending staff to Washington, DC, you’ll be far better off putting them into a corporate furnished apartment in Virginia or Maryland.
Third, with a corporate apartment, you can have Jane Doe stay in the apartment one month, and John Smith the next. However, you are responsible for making sure the apartment is clean and ready for each new staff member. Corporate apartments often offer housekeeping services, but these services do not always take care of jobs like washing bed linens. Work out a plan to make sure the apartment always stays clean between staff visits.
If your staff members frequently use another city as their home base, consider giving them a true home by investing in corporate housing. You’ll save money, increase morale, and expand your travel possibilities.