Because we cannot see into the future, predictions tend to be vague. Economists predict you’ll need to be agile and adaptable, and that you’ll have to ‘deal with information’. These are conceptual ideas. They don’t tell us what will happen to our spreadsheets. They don’t indicate if we’ll still need a virtual assistant in two years.
The tech providers making these big futures possible tend to get a bit excited talking about it. They use heavy words that end in ‘-tion’: integration, automation, evolution. What they’re building might change your life, but words like those still signal change in only the vaguest forms. So how can we prepare ourselves and our businesses for change in practical terms?
Meteorologists don’t predict the stock market. They predict the weather and usually only a little in advance. To predict what the future for property managers looks like, keep your focus where it counts and your outlook short: the next 12 to 24 months is the sweet spot. Go beyond that period and it’ll still be too hypothetical to really act on.
To boldly go
Being an early adopter of technology gives you the chance to outfox the competition, so it’s in your interest to seek it out. In particular, it’s time to let go of the fear of tech that offers to take manual tasks off your desk. Why? Because technology has consistently created more jobs than it has taken away.
Being an early adopter of technology gives you the chance to outfox the competition, so it’s in your interest to seek it out.
If we look closely at the tasks technology has taken away from us, they’re not ones we want back. They’re things like trust accounting by hand on paper, manual entry into spreadsheets and trying to keeping track of how many times a tenant paid their rent late.
Moreover, tech that automates tasks usually does a more accurate job of it, and keeps better track of where you’re up to. And with property managers holding onto unwieldy portfolios, using this firepower could actually transform their role. Task automation opens the doors to a true management function. It can become a role that focuses on relationships, growth and strategy.
Less means more
Less manual work in the modern world has never resulted in us twiddling our thumbs, looking for more work. It’s given us back time to work on the things that matter. And if the last 140 years of data are anything to go by, that means more focus on people doing that which technology cannot and should not do: build relationships. Make decisions. Experiment. Create. Think.
Above all, preparing for the workplace of the future means being part of it as soon as possible. It may not be a tidal wave just yet, but listen out for it. As Tina Sharkey, CEO of Brandless, says, “Change starts not as a tsunami, but as a whisper.”