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2021: A year in review

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2021 was an exciting year for Common. In the past 12 months, we’ve opened 33 homes across 10 cities, including new markets like St. Petersburg, St. Paul, and San Diego. We signed 4,545 new leases, helping thousands of members find their home in their dream city, and hosted over 700 events across our community. We partnered with brands that help improve the quality of our members lives, including GoPuff, Floyd, and Talkspace, and made it even easier for our members to explore a host of exclusive perks. And during this tremendous period of growth, we also welcomed 162 new teammates. 2022 promises to be just as exciting.

None of it would have been possible though without the support and resiliency of our community. Before we kick off 2022, we’re taking a look back at 2021 through the eyes of the people that made it all happen.

What’s your favorite memory of 2021?

Moving across the country to San Diego.

What’s one challenge you faced in 2021 and overcame?

Taking on a new role in a new department while moving to a whole new city. Lots of change!

What are you looking forward to in 2022?

Exploring. My goal is to see at least one new place every week. Even if it’s just a new coffee shop or park I haven’t been to yet.

What do you hope to change in 2022 about your life, your city, or the world?

The amount of burritos I consume. I haven’t had nearly enough in my lifetime. And the amount others consume. Who is actually upset while they’re eating a burrito?

If you could describe 2021 in one word, what would it be?

Honestly, overwhelming. But I doubt I’m alone on that one!

What’s your favorite memory of 2021?

My favorite memory of 2021 would have to be the time I took this year to just get away and relax. Took a weekend to Philadelphia not far but still away. Enjoyed eating Philly cheesesteaks, sightseeing historical landmarks and getting relaxing massages. I’m a history junkie so that was great. Since Covid it’s been so difficult to get a moment to yourself to enjoy life and get out with the family, so that moment together was great.

What’s one challenge you faced in 2021 and overcame?

The biggest challenge of the year is just learning to live life in the world’s new norm. I know we’ve been facing this pandemic for sometime now but for me it’s just been challenging to take back steps to the things I used to enjoy doing, like visiting the movies. I’m still learning that we can be together and still safe. Learning how to protect myself and the people around me.

What are you looking forward to in 2022?

In 2022 I’m looking forward to getting back to more and more normalcy, at least whatever that looks like for the future. Also looking forward to taking more trips and visiting friends and family that I haven’t seen in a while.

What do you hope to change in 2022 about your life, your city, or the world?

One thing I hope to change in 2022 is in myself, in taking more risk and responsibility in my aspirations of success.

If you could describe 2021 in one word, what would it be?

Exhausting

Medina is the Business Operations Lead at Floyd, a furniture company using innovation to create timeless, sustainable pieces, and one of Common’s select furniture partners. In 2021, we worked with the Floyd at team to standardize furniture across our coliving homes and partnered on a special project launching in January — stay tuned!

What’s your favorite memory of 2021?

Visiting my family and friends in Maine in July – getting to be out in nature and eating good food, while working remotely there for a month.

What’s one challenge you faced in 2021 and overcame?

Starting a new position remotely and learning how to onboard, make friends, communicate, and execute virtually.

What are you looking forward to in 2022?

I’m looking forward to traveling to rekindling and growing connections that have been virtual for a few years. I want to meet my cousin’s babies that were born this year, travel to visit the office and coworkers, see where my brother is living, and visit friends I haven’t been able to see for some time.

What do you hope to change in 2022 about your life, your city, or the world?

There was so much transition in both 2020 and 2021 for me, with changing jobs and many of my friends leaving Chicago. In 2022 I hope to build a real community here, and get to re-know the city and groups of people in it .

If you could describe 2021 in one word, what would it be?

Transition

What’s your favorite memory of 2021?

Getting engaged

What’s one challenge you faced in 2021 and overcame?

Started therapy and realized I’m a leader

What are you looking forward to in 2022?

Getting married and starting a family

What do you hope to change in 2022 about your life, your city, or the world?

I become a mom, safer city, and for the world to overcome all the bad stuff that’s going on.

If you could describe 2021 in one word, what would it be?

Awakening

What’s your favorite memory of 2021?

I have a nephew who recently turned two in December and getting to spend time with him and experience him grow has easily been my highlight of 2021.

What’s one challenge you faced in 2021 and overcame?

I was born and raised in Denmark and my family still lives there, so when I traveled back for the holidays at the end of 2020, I got “stuck” in Denmark for several months waiting for travel restrictions to ease. Given that we live on different continents, I rarely get the chance to spend long periods of time with my family, so in some ways, the pandemic turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

What are you looking forward to in 2022?

As we enter into 2022, I generally feel more optimistic about the year ahead, and I am hopeful that 2022 will be the year that we are able to return to normalcy.

What do you hope to change in 2022 about your life, your city, or the world?

After two years of mostly working from home, I look forward to hopefully spending more time connecting with friends and colleagues in person in the coming year. While the pandemic has proven that the world doesn’t necessarily come to a halt just because we’re remote, there is just something about a Zoom happy hour that’ll never be quite the same.

If you could describe 2021 in one word, what would it be?

“Bumpy”

What’s your favorite memory of 2021?

The birth of my first grandchild

What are you looking forward to in 2022?

I look forward to getting back in the office and interacting with my staff.

What do you hope to change in 2022 about your life, your city, or the world?

In 2022, I want to bring more awareness of the health disparities and income inequalities in the world.

If you could describe 2021 in one word, what would it be?

Resilience

What’s your favorite memory of 2021?

My favorite memory of the past year is probably the weekend trips I have been able to make to my grandmother’s house because we finally in my life live in the same state! Even though it would turn into a list of tasks or projects that need finishing just being able to spend time with her this often is my favorite part of 2021

What’s one challenge you faced in 2021 and overcame?

One challenge I had to overcome this year was being dropped into a new city for work. I have never traveled for work, truth be told I haven’t done much traveling at all. I think I have been on an airplane more in the last year than I have been in all the other years of my life combined. Also with the travel came learning new places, from the tolls in the San Francisco market, to the weather that seems to never cooperate in the Seattle market. It has been a great change and something I hope I get to do more as I grow with Common.

What are you looking forward to in 2022?

I am looking forward to continuing to work on my social life. I have been trying to build new social networks over the past years. I have moved and COVID has changed the game on keeping connected and staying social.

What do you hope to change in 2022 about your life, your city, or the world?

What I hope to change in 2022 is my perspective on life. Along with trying to be social I am hopeful that I will be able to find a balance between work and my personal life so that I will be able to start to think about and plan for a family.

If you could describe 2021 in one word, what would it be?

Rushed

What’s your favorite memory of 2021?

We had some pretty cool partnerships this year, one of which was with Guinness Open Gate Brewery in Baltimore, MD. In celebration of their third anniversary, we supplied cookies over the course of two weekends. The cookies were new flavors we created that paired with new beers the team introduced. We were honored to be chosen for this moment, and blown away at our ability to do some pretty cool things.

What’s one challenge you faced in 2021 and overcame?

We really worked on updating our brand and look this year. It’s very hard to keep running a business while doing a brand refresh.

What are you looking forward to in 2022?

We’re excited for new partnerships and new customers. It brings me such joy when people genuinely like our cookies.

What do you hope to change in 2022 about your life, your city, or the world?

I usually create a vision board each year, and haven’t quite gotten to my board for 2022! All that said, I hope to be a bit more creative, spontaneous and be better about asking for help! DC is such a foodie city, and I want to make sure we’re taking advantage of that. There are so many people who love desserts and we want to welcome them to our Cookie Crew tribe.

If you could describe 2021 in one word, what would it be?

Perseverance.

What’s your favorite memory of 2021?

2021 has been a blur of business so picking a single memory is difficult. One highlight has been consistent growth. I’ll always remember our first corporate partners and retail customers.

What’s one challenge you faced in 2021 and overcame?

We faced issues with our packaging vendor that forced us to change suppliers right before the holiday season.

What are you looking forward to in 2022?

Continuing to expand. We had our first corporate order in one of the few places I call home — in Tampa, Florida. As our footprint grows I’m excited for that community to be a part of our success.

What do you hope to change in 2022 about your life, your city, or the world?

In 2022 I’ll delegate more so my personal relationships don’t suffer. Oftentimes we’re so focused on success that we forget to seek assistance where possible and trust them with our business. But it’s necessary to reach a certain threshold and maintain a work-life balance.

If you could describe 2021 in one word, what would it be?

Crucial. It was a very important year for Bee J’s Cookies and I’m excited we passed the test that was our first full year. 

Mallory is the Strategics Partnership Manager at GoPuff, a delivery service that brings groceries, snacks, and drinks directly to your door in 30 minutes or less. We partnered with GoPuff to bring Common members an exclusive discount to their service.

What’s your favorite memory of 2021?

Moving back home after being away for 5 years!

What’s one challenge you faced in 2021 and overcame?

A cross-country move (see above!)

What are you looking forward to in 2022?

I’m looking forward to buying a home in 2022!

What do you hope to change in 2022 about your life, your city, or the world?

I hope the world finds more patience and acceptance for one another. 

If you could describe 2021 in one word, what would it be?

Growth

What’s your favorite memory of 2021?

When I look back at my favorite memories of 2021, they all include Common’s innovative ways of connecting employees working remotely during COVID. One of my favorite experiences with the People Operations team was our virtual Pasta with the Grandmas event.  This was an event where a Grandma in Italy (so it was midnight for her) virtually taught you how to cook pasta while her granddaughter translated for her.  It was a great team building event that also turned into a lot of laughs throughout the process!

What’s one challenge you faced in 2021 and overcame?

I moved into a management role at Common in 2021 at the same time we were ramping up hiring in a very unpredictable and competitive market. It was very challenging to find new and creative ways to attract talent. It was extremely rewarding to see the team come together to brainstorm new ideas and implement successful hiring strategies.

What are you looking forward to in 2022?

I am excited about the growth that we have in store for 2022, especially with us expanding to the UK. If you ever need a volunteer to travel to London to help attract talent, you know who to call.

What do you hope to change in 2022 about your life, your city, or the world?

Although I am not originally from Atlanta, it has been my home for many years and I would love to find new ways to give back and become more involved in the community.  I am extremely proud that Common selected Atlanta and I know my team is excited about being able to make an impact.

If you could describe 2021 in one word, what would it be?

Complicated

Clare is the Head Chef at Murray’s Cheese in Long Island City, only a block away from ALTA by Common. We interviewed Clare and her team about opening during the pandemic, what they love about LIC, and how to create the perfect cheese board on our blog this summer.

What’s your favorite memory of 2021?

​From the standpoint of my career, becoming Head Chef and leading our restaurant to an A for the very first DOH inspection I’ve personally led. Both feel like huge accomplishments in such a challenging year. Personally, adopting my dog, Waffles, and watching her grow and work hard in training to become a trusting, loving part of my family has been so rewarding. She lights up every day and reminds me of the strength I have to push through whatever obstacles life throws me. 

What’s one challenge you faced in 2021 and overcame?

​Understaffing! With many people deciding to pursue different career paths, the restaurant industry faced understaffing regularly throughout this past year. I’m very much a “silver linings” type person, so I decided to push myself to learn as much as possible about other roles in my company so I could grow as a leader and better support my employees across the board. 

What are you looking forward to in 2022?

​2021 gave me the hope of returning to our new normal. I’ve definitely seen restaurants coming back to life and although the challenges are far from over, I continue to look forward to hosting friends and family who haven’t made it to the restaurant yet because of travel restrictions and safety concerns that came hand in hand with Covid-19. 

What do you hope to change in 2022 about your life, your city, or the world?

​I want to better contribute to the conversation around the growth of the restaurant industry. I think there are many misconceptions about being a cook or chef and I want to see those around me succeed and feel empowered to stand up for themselves. This is a physically and mentally draining career path and we’ve only just begun to appropriately compensate and care for those who work in restaurants. So many people missed going to restaurants and I think educating people on why it’s been so tough for us over the last two years would be beneficial for all of us. So many people thought unemployment kept employees away, but that has since ended and we still face extreme understaffing because many people just didn’t want to return to such a stressful environment with inconsistent pay and lack of regard for wellbeing. Let’s open up the conversation to make a better hospitality industry for employees and guests alike.   

If you could describe 2021 in one word, what would it be?

Hopeful. Although there have been so many challenges, I remain inspired by those around me and find comfort in the laughs we share and our passion for food. I was able to visit family this year, reunite with friends and take time for myself, and these moments of joy gave me so much hope and a sense of peace with how Covid-19 changed the world around us.

What’s your favorite memory of 2021?

I brought home my French bulldog, Billy, as a two-month-old puppy in January of 2021. She has brought so much joy and fulfillment into my life since then. Laughing at her silly nature has created so many great memories for me. 

What’s one challenge you faced in 2021 and overcame?

Raising a puppy in an apartment and a very busy city has been a unique adventure that has taught me so much patience!

What are you looking forward to in 2022?

In 2022, I am looking forward to hopefully seeing family and friends that I have not been able to travel to see in the past few years. 

What do you hope to change in 2022 about your life, your city, or the world? 

In 2022, I hope that I can bring some happiness to everyone that I come across and spread kindness across NYC and beyond! 

If you could describe 2021 in one word, what would it be?

Unexpected!

What’s your favorite memory of 2021?

My favorite memory of 2021 was getting an email from our Recruiting team about a new and exciting position with Common.

What’s one challenge you faced in 2021 and overcame?

The challenge that I faced in 2021 and overcame is working 2 Porter jobs to make ends meet to having 1 awesome position as a Porter/Property Manager of a fairly new building named Common Elmwood and meeting all ends. God is good, all the time. 

What are you looking forward to in 2022?

What I am looking forward to in 2022 is mastering my craft as a Porter and becoming a Master Porter. 

What do you hope to change in 2022 about your life, your city, or the world? 

What I am looking to change in 2022 about my life is taking life more seriously, staying focused, and being on my A-game, with work, my family, and more importantly my children.

If you could describe 2021 in one word, what would it be?

God. Because with Him all things are possible. Had it not been for God I wouldn’t be here. I give Him all the praise and glory.

What’s your favorite memory of 2021?

My boyfriend and I went on a beach vacation to The Keys. It was relaxing, and we had so much fun taking a break from our normal lives.

What’s one challenge you faced in 2021 and overcame?

In 2021 I transferred companies. I wanted a better opportunity for personal career growth, but leaving my previous team was difficult. It was bittersweet!

What are you looking forward to in 2022?

I am looking forward to moving! I have to relocate cities, and I am excited about the new chapter.

What do you hope to change in 2022 about your life, your city, or the world?

In 2022 I want to spend more time with my parents. Now that I am relocating, I hope I can spend more time with them as they get older.

If you could describe 2021 in one word, what would it be?

Rewarding

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