Reactive to proactive, how are property managers making this crucial change?
The days of location being the most important factor in commercial property are long gone. As businesses better understand the links between productivity, morale and the office environment, tenants are expecting more than four walls and a roof.
Green buildings, shared spaces, communal cafes – even tenant- friendly networking and social programmes – commercial properties are morphing into new forms of working environments as companies work harder to attract and retain talent.
For a conservative property manager, accustomed to reacting to property problems, these higher expectations can quickly become overwhelming. But there is an upside.
Developments in property technology mean the trouble shooting side of the property manager’s role can be achieved efficiently, releasing more time for the value-add, proactive functions that enable property managers to build their own and their portfolio’s reputation among tenants.
Cost-effective technology is equipping property managers to make the shift from reactive to proactive. Rather than focusing on a growing list of “to do” maintenance issues, property technology supports managers to predict future needs of tenants and plan upgrades or enhancement to their portfolio to meet these changing needs.
Automation and improved forecasting are two of the key tools that can transform a property manager’s role from reactive to proactive. Time-consuming administrative tasks like invoicing and customer communications can be automated by property management software like Re-leased. The time saved can be productively spent on adding value – including developing preventive maintenance program’s with trusted suppliers that will enhance their tenants’ experience of their property by ensuring the basics, from lifts to aircons, work reliably.
Being able to forecast a building’s operational needs is particularly useful for managing commercial spaces, because while these are central to the tenants’ experience, they can also be costly. However, by proactively implementing an appropriate PropTech solution enables property managers to work with property owners to spread the cost investment over a planned timeframe. A good example is scheduling upgrades with the potential to secure higher rental returns to coincide with the end of tenants’ leases.
Few property managers would argue with the value of future forecasting, but for most, the challenge is finding the time to look forward when immediate priorities take precedence.
Again, PropTech provides the tools. For example, the contractor-management tool developed by our team at Forsite, is an app-based solution that mirrors a Swiss army knife when it comes to functions.
Designed to meet increasingly stringent health and safety requirements, the app logs in approved maintenance contractors to a site, provide easily updated hazards and risk induction, and provides the property manager with visibility of time spent on site in real time. In addition to freeing up the manager from site visits to induct contractors, the app provides a full log of maintenance activities.
Every industry sector on the planet today – be it finance, health, agriculture, whatever – is learning how to operate in a digital world. The property / real estate sector is no different, even though sometimes we may think we are. Those of us who work in this...