7 Tips For Managing Real Estate Teams In The Digital Workplace
How can investors manage real estate teams in the new digital workplace?
The workplace has changed. We’ve evolved from the industrial era. We’re now working in a digital landscape. The digital nomad movement has gone from the fringe to mainstream. Now; outsourcing, remote working, and freelancing are the norm. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t have quirks. It doesn’t mean everyone is maximizing the infrastructure. So how can independent real estate pros and companies manage their team with effectiveness and efficiency?
Some real estate companies have been outsourcing for years. Some CEOs have been managing real estate firms remotely since 2005 and earlier. Yet, it is still a new concept for many. Especially when put into practice. There are digital nomads which have perfected their processes over several years. The largest real estate corporations have perfected systems for using them. But not everyone is there yet. Many seasoned executives and even serial entrepreneurs are new to this working environment. Even millennials aren’t trained for it. The workplace has changed, but school hasn’t. Schools are still organized just like they were in the industrial age. Now when they leave school, everything is different. They may get Instagram and YouTube. But they are not accustomed to working independent with no supervision. The following will help you get more out of operations in the new workplace:
Screen well: One of the biggest mistakes real estate CEOs make when hiring remote workers is failing to screen accordingly. They often assume they know what they are doing. They throw normal hiring sense to the wind. Outsourcing platforms like oDesk can help a lot. They make it easier to filter potential hires. Yet, they are home to a full spectrum of talent – great and not so much. So look at feedback ratings. Look for money back guarantees. Look for length of history. Anyone can perform well for a short period of time. Few can keep it up over a period of years. Look beyond hourly rates. Could a higher quality freelancer get more done in less time? And cost less in the end? Do they know the real estate industry? Or will they need training and micro-managing? Can you test them out for a couple of hours to see if it is a good match?
Get on the same page: A lot of assumptions happen over the internet. Never assume a freelancer gets what you are looking for. Invest the extra few minutes in writing a brief. Send links to examples of what you like. Make sure you are both on the same page.
Align communications: There is a lot of miscommunication in this industry. Start by understanding the best channels of communication. Layout the best methods of collaboration. Have you ever considered that a ‘digital nomad’ or real estate worker may not use a smartphone? They don’t need to. You can still run a local business in person with handshakes and face time. You can work remote and run a real estate business just by email, or from a laptop. Is your freelance team even working in your time zone? What if they take Tuesdays off instead of weekends? What if they work on GMT even though their profile says they are in a PST time zone? Not clarifying these things upfront can cause lots of frustration. You’ll be ready to fire them for not responding in two days, when they have no clue you were trying to reach them.
Understand the process: Do you have a process and system in place for logging their work? Have you laid out how you want work submitted? Do they have their own processes in place? Do you know their turnaround times? What about timelines for resubmitting revisions? How do they work? And what does that mean for the end product?
Allow for downtime: Downtime is going to happen. Even if you have robots working for you. Failing to factor it in is only going to cause problems. The best freelancers still have internet outages. They will want to enjoy holidays with family. They will want to travel. They’ll even get sick. They have other clients too. If you only use their services a couple hours a week, they might have twenty other clients. Failing to expect downtime means trouble. So order work a couple weeks before you need it. Sandbag extra content to fill gaps. Have temps to fill in when in a crisis.
Build engagement: Engagement and company culture isn’t just for in-house staff. Not if you want the results it can bring. Some may not want more engagement. Others crave it. They want to be a part of something bigger. It can make them prouder of what they do. In turn, productivity may increase, and they’ll become better ambassadors of your brand. This doesn’t have to be time consuming or expensive. It could be an invite to an annual meetup at your physical offices. Or it could be sending out a quarterly newsletter from the CEO. Update them on where the company is going, what successes is the team achieving, and let them know their work matters.
Help them with their real estate and financial goals: Outsourced talent is as important as in-house staff. Once you’ve found a great player, you shouldn’t let them go. This is why serious companies offer 401ks, health benefits, company cars, etc. These may be rare perks in the real estate world. But there can be a happy medium. Real estate companies sell housing and financial vehicles. They survive on helping others into homes and investment properties. Yet, so many employees are still renting, or are looking around for better job opportunities. It may not always be a match. It depends on the product, location, and system. But shouldn’t your company be the first place workers look to for housing? What about improving finances? If you pay as much as $300 to land new deals, and team members are renting from your competition, this is a gap to consider bridging.