There is no doubt that property management has changed a lot since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. For many agencies, the crisis has compelled them to take on new ideas and practices that aren’t just a temporary solution but will continue to prepare them for the future of property management:
Flexible work arrangements
In response to social distancing measures, many property managers found themselves working from home for the first time. Directors of leading agencies, including Maria Carlino from The Agency, have recognised the value of flexible working arrangements as part of the future of property management. “Flexibility is a huge thing. We’ve got a lot of mothers working in the industry, as well as those with families. And working in the hours that suit them provided our business an increase in productivity” says Maria. She also notes that this productivity can be maximised by following work from home best practices. The COVID-19 period has proved that agencies can still perform optimally even without the physical presence of employees in the office.
A focus on flexibility also has other major benefits – it is one of the key things that allows agencies to attract high-quality talent. By encouraging flexible work practices, agencies are also better able to retain this talent. With this said, managing employees remotely still has its challenges. The agencies that have succeeded are the ones that pay special attention to empathy, motivation, routine check-ins, providing help when needed and caring for the wellbeing of the agents and tenants.
An innovative approach
For leaders like Cathie Crampton, the director of property management at Place Real Estate, there are valuable opportunities to be found in times of uncertainty. Cathie states that the COVID-19 situation has shown how important innovation is for property managers and businesses to continue functioning effectively. “Even though it’s been challenging at first for many in the industry to move in the pace we needed to move, we are now finding that you can look into something like Tenant Assisted Inspections and realise that it’s possible with the technology we have available.”
The ability to adapt quickly through innovation will set the thriving businesses apart from those that are just surviving. Innovation will continue to be at the forefront for many years to come. According to Cathie: “When you embrace doing something differently, then you continue to move forward.”
Adapting through technology
With the limit on in-person interactions and shift to remote work, we’ve gained a new appreciation for the value of technology. This is one of the most positive things to have come out of all the major changes and disruptions this year. During COVID-19, we have seen active participation from tenants when completing routine inspections. Our Tenant Assisted Inspections feature has enabled property managers to stay effective in their role despite physical restrictions. And even when COVID-19 has passed, this contactless approach can continue to serve as a viable alternative to on-premise inspections.
Property managers need to be open to embracing new technologies that will enhance their services. As noted by Maria: “What stands us apart from everyone else is our service and the platforms that we use to be able to execute that service as best as we can.” The chances that a business will remain successful in the years to come will largely depend on their ability to take advantage of the best technologies available.
Focus on wellbeing
Managing work and life during unpredictable circumstances can be stressful and damaging to your health. It’s important to stay mindful of changes in your mental and physical health. Business leaders should also be focused on supporting the wellbeing of their team – particularly those who are working from home. According to Jet Xavier, Director at Real Estate Mastermind “Communications needs to be around optimism, perspective and resilience…If we don’t deal with our mental health that’s going to have a lot of impact on what we do.” During COVID-19, many in the industry have learnt to focus on things that they can control. “A lot of stress and anxiety comes from people trying to control [things that are out of their control]. You need to realise that the only thing in your control is how you see things and the actions you can take.”
The experiences of property management leaders have proven that despite the challenges of this year, the future of property management is still bright. We’ve learnt that success awaits those who actively look for solutions and remain optimistic about the future.