Technology and computing is advancing in leaps and bounds. Networks that used to be built from desktops and server rooms now consist of devices and cloud based systems. What does this mean for your real estate business? And are you short changing yourself by not keeping up with the times?
In recent years, the Real Estate industry has seen a big shift away from server-based systems and applications (Think REX, Console etc.) to those based in the Cloud (Property Tree, PropertyMe etc.). This has some very obvious impacts on your Agency including:
No requirement for an onsite server
Reduced need for external IT support
Reduced CAPEX in relation to IT Hardware
But the benefits are not only related to your IT function. Replacing your old systems with these new, Cloud-based systems have other, significant benefits to your business. The biggest benefits from my point of view are the positive impacts it has on your work environment, your Recruitment strategy and even the geographic spread of your rent roll.
A server in your office is like a leash for your staff. Without the use of some very clunky network engineering (VPNs, Citrix, RDP) your staff cannot access the systems they need without physically being in the office. This severely restricts your ability, as an employer, to provide your staff with the flexible working environment that would assist in your staff being happier and more productive at work; as well as position you as an employer of choice amongst your competition.
Imagine if one of your Property Managers could not come to work because they had a sick child at home. If you had cloud based systems, the employee could still log in while their little one slept to complete any urgent tasks for that day. No, they wouldn’t be able to put in a full day, but at least they could clear the important items and not have to have another team member change up their day and take on more work instead.
What impact does the flexibility in the above example have on your team? I would suggest that by moving to The Cloud, you are empowering your team to take ownership of their position and you are beginning to move away from a workplace that focuses on hours worked, to a workplace that focuses on outcomes.
Your Recruitment Strategy
When you remove the requirement for your staff to be in the office simply because that is where they have to be to access the systems required to do their job, you create opportunity to revolutionise your whole business model. Consider the tasks that make up the operations of your Real Estate Agency. How many of those tasks require someone’s physical presence in your office? At Beepo, our research suggests that 20% of Property Management tasks require a physical presence. The other 80% can be done somewhere else i.e. somebody’s home, the other side of the country, or even in another country entirely. When you consider this, then what does that mean for the way you recruit staff? For a proportion of your team, their geographic location is no longer a prerequisite for employment. When hiring new staff you can now truly look for the best talent for the job, Globally. That is HUGE.
The other aspect to this is: if the need to work from an office is no longer a daily requirement for your staff, do you really need so much office space. How much is the office costing you anyway?
Obviously, there are some tasks that need to be kept local, such as sales, inspections, reception etc. But, if you want to thrive in a highly competitive market that struggling with fee erosion then you need to think about how you’re spending your money and how you’re resourcing your business.
If you want to learn more about how you can incorporate remote workers into your existing business model then download my article, “The Four Steps to Solving the Remote and Cross-Cultural Management Challenges of Offshoring”. Although it has an offshoring focus it is just as relevant to managing onshore remote workers.
Geographic Spread of Rent Roll
Traditionally, Real Estate businesses have tried to keep the spread of their rent roll in as tight a geographic area as possible. The smaller the spread, the more cost effective it is to manage. However, If you are cloud based, and you have moved to a flexible work environment, where staff work from home some or all of the time and it is easy for them to get out on the road to service tenants and landlords, it provides scope to have your rent roll spread over a larger area, or even multiple areas. So just as having a server based system in your office is restrictive on the movements of your team, it can also be seen to be restrictive on what you’re able to service in terms of where your rentals are located.
Just because you have a functioning server-based operating environment doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider moving to The Cloud. Cloud based systems provide your Real Estate business with a huge amount of flexibility that you simply do not have under the alternative. If you want to improve the productivity of staff, leverage the benefits of offshore staff, have a larger portion of market share, happier staff; while also combatting fee erosion, then it is a no brainer.
If you are moving to The Cloud, or are already there, and want to learn more about how you can supercharge your agency with the help of outsourced Property Management Assistants then contact us for a Free Business Consultation.
If you are still too shy to talk to us then learn a little bit more about how supplementing your local team with offshore talent can grow your business by reading (or listening to) our eBook, “Answering all of your questions about outsourcing in the real estate sector”.