Remotely expanding mid-term rental options in Madison and Milwaukee

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The COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed the landscape of how employees expect to interact with the workplace. Workers have shown a preference for remote work and, according to a Prudential survey from March 2021, that isn’t expected to change any time soon – 87% of respondents said they wanted the ability to continue working remotely once the risk of COVID-19 subsides.

This, coupled with the typical industries that require their employees to travel for longer periods of time (tech workers, general contractors, nurses and more), has led to an increased need for “mid-term housing”, said Remotely co-founder Stephan Mesdjian.

The Madison-based company was founded in 2020 and is focused on providing mid-term housing for remote workers. Mid-term housing is generally defined as furnished housing for remote workers staying for three to nine months on average.

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“Our target is remote workers. We do house a lot of grad students and medical students, but a lot of our guests are remote workers,” Mesdjian said. “We understand the market. If it’s a contractor or a company that needs 10 units we can go out and get them and set them up.”

The Remotely team was mentored by Yevez Perez, founder and chief executive officer of Reno, Nevada-based Workbnb. Workbnb is an online travel agency that allows workers to book mid-term rentals. Workbnb processes the bookings made through Remotely while Remotely is the actual operator of all the properties listed.

A Remotely rental unit on Williamson Street in Madison.

“The lack of housing for traveling employees is a growing challenge and it is negatively impacting job satisfaction,” Perez said. “Our technology is solving a problem for businesses, helping improve employee morale and reducing job quits.”

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Remotely is also partnering with Frontdesk and exclusively using their operational platform called Lever.

The company currently has 17 units in the Madison market and six units in Milwaukee. All of the units listed at this point in time are either buildings bought and developed by Remotely or properties being used through partnerships with real estate investors. Mesdjian said it’s possible in the future that any homeowner could list their property on Remotely.

“We need to be able to control the experience for our guests. We need to have good relationships with contractors and property owners as well so if something goes wrong, everything gets fixed in a timely fashion,” Mesdjian said.

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Remotely is looking to expand its total number of units to 100-plus by the end of 2023. When looking at where they want to have properties, Mesdjian said buildings near medical institutions, universities and ongoing construction projects are ideal.

“People are going to continue to travel and people are going to continue to stay for an extended period of time, at least that’s what we believe. There’s a market and we want to make sure we’re the leaders in getting people that housing,” Mesdjian said.

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