Attitudes towards working remotely and inhabiting a new digital workplace have shifted almost immediately with the onset of COVID-19. The commercial office space is witnessing a declining demand as people are re-evaluating their physical workplace and how an office is no longer simply defined by four walls. The commercial real estate sector is taking a hard hit due to the evident shift in the collective company mindset about how teams collaborate and how important a physical office space is to their productivity. As much as this has been a setback for the office industry, there is always opportunity in face of adversity.
Digitalization of operations and the creation of next-generation operating models are taking effect, and the new workforce model will heavily revolve around increased usage of automation and artificial intelligence to complement human skills. As more and more businesses implement these agile digital transformations, companies will need to rethink everything from how their employees use the space, to how their offices are designed, to what digital office capabilities should be incorporated into the new normal of work. While companies try to adopt new technologies to be more proactive and cost-effective to build value, results are disappointing: digital initiatives provide temporary gains but are not sustainable, initiatives are implemented in silo-ed units so they don’t have a big company-wide impact, and companies fail to get employee buy-in resulting in ineffective change management implementation. Here’s how real estate companies can avoid these shortfalls and thrive in the new digital workplace.
Emotions and social interactions play a critical role in the future of work
It is all about the culture and fostering a culture that encourages remote working. Despite the significant productivity gains brought on by working from home, there are also imminent cultural and social challenges linked to teleworking. The lines between professional and private lives will begin to blur and there will be no clear boundaries for work-life balance, potentially affecting managers’ and agents’ mental health. In times of social distancing, employees often feel disconnected from the company, coworkers, and clients, losing touch of meaningful interpersonal contact when working together in the same physical space.
The key to continually ensuring that agents are not feeling isolated and are socializing during this new era is to implement a real estate management solution that provides enterprise-wide social collaboration and networking functionalities. Technology that contains social functions not only improves productivity but also fosters connectivity between every employee, empowering them to exchange files, data, information, messages, and more. Although remote collaboration can be enhanced and elevated through next-in-class collaboration software and workplace management tools, how successfully and efficiently the new digital work experience will integrate into the corporate culture goes beyond technology and IT. Organizations, leaders, managers, and companies as a whole need to foster a corporate culture that supports its employees and elevates their experiences to realize the true productivity gains remote working can induce. Adoption of technology along with an inclusive environment ensures that agents do not miss the collaboration, socialization, and, in some cases, the demarcation provided by the physical workspace.
Importance of agent buy-in for an engaged digital workforce
Success in digital advancements and engagement lies in getting employee buy-in. The roadmap to engagement success involves asking for employee input: survey real estate agents about how they want to communicate, what type of technology will make them more productive when managing listings and clients, and what digital tools can enable them to focus more on nurturing client relationships digitally. Despite the natural tendency towards new technologies and flexible working, there will be many agents who will resist change and prefer to stick to traditional ways of communicating with coworkers and prospecting for deals. The key is to lay out the vision, communicate consistently, and continue to solicit feedback to bring all of them on board when digitally enabling the sales force.
Real estate agents need to understand that emerging digital platforms connecting sellers and buyers as well as productivity tools complement the conventional sales model rather than replace their roles as human agents. By providing adequate training and demonstrating the value-added benefits of how employing the right technology can give hours back to agents’ days, agents will be more receptive to change and will understand what is being deployed, why it’s being deployed, and how it will boost their performance and translate into closing more deals. To ease the transition and adoption of new systems, organizations should also lean on their technology vendor to provide training sessions and regular health checks with their sales force to maximize the platform user experience. The onboarding process and customer support are of paramount importance when evaluating whether new technologies can meet company demands and empower teams to increase sales revenue.
The customer experience (and agent experience!) should be every businesses’ compass
While every organization should build their business with the customer experience as the north star, customer experience and agent experience are intrinsically linked. Employees are the ultimate brand ambassadors that interact with customers daily—equipping them with the right tools to better understand customer needs and directly respond to those changing needs, promptly and with minimal delays will only help elevate both the agent experience and the customer experience. According to research, 47% of buyers reported that responsiveness was the most valuable and sought-after trait in a real estate agent. As online becomes the default place to search, buy, and transact properties, real estate companies need to ensure they can deliver timely, thoughtful, and relevant experiences that customers crave.
An end-to-end real estate management platform to augment the new digital workplace experience
Digital transformation today is as much a human process as it is a technological one. Involving your staff and employees from the onset can make or break the new digital office experience. While the merits of flexible working are evident, businesses face employee disengagement challenges. Such challenges can be solved with digital initiatives to adopt technologies that enable socialization, collaboration, and engagement. Real estate productivity software should contain collaboration functions that connect, engage, and motivate agents to work efficiently across the organization, regardless of location.
Property Raptor’s social Chatter feature allows agents and managers to share information, exchange files, and communicate efficiently so that real estate agents can stay connected from anywhere, anytime. Our easy-to-navigate interface is designed to make change management and technology adoption as seamless aand frictionless as possible for your teams. In addition to our extensive Customer Support Portal that is filled with online video tutorials and comprehensive guides, our customer success teams provide frequent training and tailored onboarding to ensure our clients reap the full benefits of our robust features.
In the fundamentally altered workplace model that now hybridizes remote working, it is crucial to strategically choose a trusted technology provider. Make digital work with Property Raptor as your all-in-one real estate management solution and book a demo to see how we can elevate both your agent and customer experience!