If we look back on the last 100 years, we have seen significant societal shifts off the back of catastrophic moments in history.
Following World War I, we saw the birth of industry and mass production, which gave rise to a prosperous middle class.
The Global Financial Crisis in 2008 allowed both the sharing economy and gig economy to emerge and prosper – something that may never have been possible had so many people not lost their primary source of income all at once.
The impact of these disastrous times was that significant and hugely beneficial change took place.
To say the past two years have been problematic is an understatement.
COVID-19 has changed everything – from the way we connect to the way we work.
But I believe that, unlike some industries that may return to their pre-Covid ways, the last few years will bring about a profound change for the real estate industry.
Across the board, Covid has taught us to embrace flexible working.
We have been forced to work from home and embrace new technologies – all while some of us have also had to manage home schooling, not to mention the merging of our personal and professional spaces.
We have had no choice but to adjust.
Property management has always been a profession that was prone to micromanagement, but with the hurdles of the past 24 months, we have had to change the way we operate.
From having tenants undertake their own property inspections to a complete overhaul of face-to-face interactions, everyone has made major changes to how things have traditionally been done.
Perhaps the most significant change, and one that I believe is the most important, is that the past two years have seen a shift in how we recognise and understand the mental health toll on property managers.
Property managers have always had to handle really serious issues, issues that are highly emotional and taxing on all involved.
From evicting residents who can’t afford to pay their rent, to acting on behalf of a landlord they may disagree with, it is often an emotionally charged and stressful job.
Off the back of last year and an entirely new set of challenges facing property managers, an alarming number of people left the real estate industry.
We had property managers dealing with tenants who simply couldn’t pay their rent following the widespread shutdown of so many industries, and owners who couldn’t get by without it.
We also saw governments announcing changes to legislation in daily press conferences and property managers having to implement those widespread changes immediately.
The result was a huge exodus of talent from the industry, with something like 30 per cent leaving by the end of 2020.
All of this has driven a profound evaluation about how to best support the mental health and wellbeing of our teams.
In the past, these issues might have been seen as coming with the territory and an agency’s bottom line may have taken priority – but those days are over and agency owners are not only open to change, they are demanding it.
I see this in the conversations I have with our customers who now ask so many more questions about how using our platform will positively impact the experience of their team.
In the past, questions would have focused on integrations or operating costs.
When we started Kolmeo, we set out to create a platform that could help the industry adapt to a changing landscape – more demanding owners and tenants, compressed margins and the ongoing challenges in finding and keeping talented property managers.
While we have a role to play in helping agencies make the most of the new world, I hope the industry will also see this moment in time as an opportunity.
An opportunity to determine how we can reshape our industry for the future based on our collective experiences since the start of 2020.