It’s a misplace concept to think that the 2020 Covid-19 crisis will ring the bell for the “death of the office”. It’s also not true that property management software will be “the saviour”. However, according to the office of national statistics what is true is that over 50% of working adults will be working from home by the end of 2020 those in the property industry will be using some kind of software to assist with that.
The office is changing.
There has been a growing narrative from a number of high profile businesses especially within the digital sector that offices are now not needed, twitter was one of the 1st to make it clear that remote working was the new normal and some companies in the startup space are going so far as to say “the office is closed” and some have asked will estate agents survive. This is simply click bate news and we should all be very wary of sensationalised headlines in both the property industry and the digital industry at the moment.
It’s most definitely time to seek out new ways, new ideas and innovation and we should collaborate on that.
Sure a re-think in the way we do things in the office space will be part of a strategic conversation being had at every business and property management office, however, now more than ever allows for a re-think around just how to reconnect with customers and teams and then more importantly how we “regularly” connect with each other. It gives business owners, landlords and property owners to huge opportunities to create something special.
For too long the battle between traditional property management and the digital businesses within proptech sector has sawed high because one didn’t value the other or one wanted to kill the other, but now is time for there to be a unification on both sides to create something new which is part physical and part digital. Building a new way is something Seth Godin explains is not about peddling harder.
Let there be a truce between the warring sides, for the benefit of both.
The case for the office, one that brings greater value.
A business leader should try to recognise that their organisation, like many others, is working its way through the greatest global workplace experiment ever conducted. Dr Lee Elliot from Frank Knight says “a greater shift to remote working in the long run won’t spell the death of the physical office. Rather, the office will play an increasingly important role in bringing teams together to collaborate and establish company culture in a way that can’t be done virtually.”
For property managers, the prospect of the Hybrid office model could excite many not only because it could be a place for advancing relationships with employees and customers alike but more importantly a place for building brand experience for the team within the business and the customer ahead.
Is a high street shop the best shop window for the property management products or services that our businesses offer? Probably not. Is it just somewhere that administers email? It probably is. Maybe now we can see that some of the basic routine communications tasks that bring little value need not bring as much cost to a business if they can be done from a remote location, leaving the office space for bringing value.
Trying those solutions now is key.
Your commitment to employee wellbeing is going to need some special thought to, It’s not going to be the norm that we all work from our home or that we all must have some space to work remotely permanently, some of us will work from an office. Customers will want a safe environment to meet you, and more importantly, employees will demand this too. If we are going to trade some form of flexibility for a better place to work than that place has to be very good for all.
The de-densification of offices will lead to experimentation, evaluation and the evolution of not just how we work but also how we live. We will want to consider where we bring value. The design of offices where people are just housed to do basic tasks may not bring anyone any value anymore, the risk of travelling to and from home may also circumvent the desire to work only one way and so new ways will gradually happen.
Digitalisation was looming, it now makes sense.
The wheels within the property sector turn slowly, and why shouldn’t they. With the high volume of transactions going through the industry and the value being so vast why not run the transaction pipe slower. However, and there is a, however, why not now focus on only slowing down transactions where there is obvious value to be had, with the rest of the transactions allow things to happen in real-time.
Over the last 10 weeks, it’s been said that people have spent over 70% of there free time watching social media, on-demand content, people having all the control in the palm if there hand. Now, putting value in the hands of the buyer is an obvious thing to do right? But if you do give all the control to the buyer and they treat your property management business as an on-demand business, on their terms, how do you know what’s going to happen when?
There is an opportunity to optimising your services, take away the need for pushing sales and build a business relationship in a new way. Connecting with your customer when they want you there. How can you be there when they want you there, you have to be more socially connected, not on social media but through your chosen methods of communication.
Maximising your ROI, can you sell to people not ready to buy? No. So why do that?
Property management software? What makes us move forward? Experimentation. Evaluation. Evolution.
So there is balance and conflict at the same time which isn’t a problem in itself so let’s not make it one. Over the last few months we have all learnt just how effectively we can change our world and our actions for the better of all, it was hard to know if what we were doing or being told was right, but we did it and we have seen the results. This takes us somewhere new, a place to discover more deeply.
There is acceptance of change and this is something that should be carried forward, property management software does allow for better management of properties, this is not a guessing statement but a fact, we have learnt there are many types of property management software from a simple email to bespoke systems.
With open minds, we become open to opportunities, rather than thinking let’s not do this and let’s not do that, why not ask what does that do and can it bring value.
Just because you start in one place, doesn’t mean you have to stay there.
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