Pandemic-era technology has ushered in new approaches to the workplace, including four-day work weeks in some areas. Given the need to be aware of maintenance requests and prospect visits, many multi-family businesses are reporting that they are not yet ready for a four-day work week and do not necessarily know when they might be able to do so. ‘be.
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Yet eyes have been opened to the possibility of greater flexibility during the pandemic. And now that it looks like COVID-19 is waning, what many want in a post-pandemic workweek isn’t necessarily the ability to take Monday or Friday off. It’s the flexibility to avoid being chained to their desks for five full days. Technology has made self-guided tours possible, freeing rental agents from the tyranny of five days a week. The integration of new residents can also be done remotely. Credit checking and entry of credit card numbers can be handled from an off-site location, with the new resident then receiving digital keys. The rental agent can manage all of this remotely, without entering the office.
Technology-based automation can save staff time in other ways. This can allow chat bots to provide answers to frequently asked questions. He can ask residents about their overall experience and what events and services they would like to offer.
Most building physical infrastructure is now online and can be monitored remotely, freeing some staff from traditional management tasks. Internet of Things (IoT) sensors monitoring, for example, HVAC, electrical and plumbing systems, to name a few, can generate actionable data accessible on easily navigable dashboards anywhere in the world. the world, freeing staff from office confinements.
“As we move into the future, more and more systems are integrated as they are integrated,” said Mary Clark, director of marketing for Brivo, which focuses on cloud-based access control and smart building technologies for multi-family properties. Consider for example property managers with multiple buildings and multiple locations who need to collect consumption information and need to get this information easily. “This work can be done anywhere given the data coming from the sensors,” Clark continued. “It allows for the flexible work model that people are looking for.”
To Veritas Investments Inc.a property manager of multi-family, mixed-use assets with more than 700 properties in California, management began to assess both customer needs and employee functions in an effort to make decisions about reporting to the office.
Based on the results so far, officials believe that allowing flexibility in where teams work leads to benefits in terms of productivity, resident service delivery and employee satisfaction.
In multi-family homes, specific customer-focused processes and functions can complicate four-day workweeks. Veritas Investments identifies these functions as including rental, maintenance and resident services. Despite that reality, the company’s chief operating officer, Jeff Jerden, said Veritas wouldn’t rule out shortened workweeks.
“Like others, we are intrigued by the idea of a four-day workweek and can see the viability of a compressed workday for employees who want it, such as 10 hours over four days.”
As Clark suggested, recently developed technological tools can help provide flexible scheduling for property management staff. For example, Veritas discovered that tools like Happy Co allow on-site teams to visually report field conditions to the company’s management team. This allows for faster decision making on capital repairs and improvements.
The company’s internal platform, Veritas Drive, has facilitated automation and workflow improvements that affect all aspects of operations. “As part of this, we have created a maintenance management solution that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to efficiently direct technicians in the field and automates every aspect of the maintenance ticket journey, from request to completion. “Jerden said.
“The only manual part of the process is when a maintenance teammate greets a resident in their apartment and performs the requested repair.”
Of course, technology tools also promise to reduce staff hours spent overseeing time-consuming tours of residences and amenities. In Miami, a development company PMG became the first in its class to offer potential buyers of E11EVEN residences YUPIX meta technology. Using virtual reality headsets, the technology streamlines the process of visiting, purchasing and customizing a residence. Donning the helmets in a development’s sales gallery, prospects enter a 360-degree sensory tour of the units before the development capturing their interest even enters the scene. 3D computing and data transmission technology collects prospects’ behaviors and feedback, analyzes them, and provides tailored suggestions for finishes and other unit details.
Marketing is another area that can be automated to bring malleability to the office hours of property management. Marketing automation can create a “one-stop-shop” that not only saves time, but can potentially drive better results for multi-family staff.
For example, landlords can establish guidelines requiring that a new Facebook ad be placed each time a vacant unit becomes available. But rather than creating an entirely new ad for each unit, newly vacated unit-specific data can be fed into a standardized template, allowing even non-marketing staff to confidently put together accurate, risk-free ads with speed and ease.
Spencer Smith, Vice President of Marketing at Recall, reports that by using marketing automation, its client EXIT Realty reduced the time its agents spent managing online marketing from nine hours to nine minutes per week. This allowed staff to focus their efforts elsewhere and work towards a dream four-day work week.
That four-day week may not be feasible in today’s multi-family industry. But it’s certainly true that the post-pandemic world will bring greater flexibility and likely happier staff.