When I started in the Commercial Property Management business 30 years ago, I always had my note pad to jot down ideas, maintenance issues and tenant meeting items. As I arrived back to the office, I would call my vendors on the items that pertained to them, put in a written work order to my engineer for tenant issues and share the Polaroid pictures on the visual issues I found.
On today’s operations side, we’ve managed to simplify many aspects of property operations. Long gone are the days of doing business on green ledger pads. Now we use accounting-based software and highly customized Excel spreadsheets to track rent payments or pay vendors electronically, cutting processing and postage costs.
And we’ve embraced mobile technology, helping us do our job on the ground. My tablet and smartphone have not only replaced my old school notepad and building books, they’ve helped take my business to a whole new level.
While doing property inspections, they enable me to check HVAC operations, program lighting settings and check work orders. I can pull up contacts or floor plans via Drop Box, take important notes with Evernote, and send pictures of property issues with just a few taps on the screen.
It’s all about efficiency. And more apps and software are being developed every day, helping me bring the highest level of quality and productivity to the properties I manage. These tools help me develop property plans, design program ideas, show our tenants how their expansion might look and review new ideas right off the net.
The communications possibilities are amazing. I can notify tenants of severe weather, property inspections and building events in real time, providing the most up-to-date information. Social media apps also let me share updates about new tenants and building upgrades, or to recognize our exceptional staff members. Finally, I’m always able to stay connected to my team when I travel, so we can collaborate wherever we are and work smarter.
On one hand, we are able to give great customer service by taking care of building issues, correct safety items and ensuring the washrooms are restocked and cleaned during the day. The other side to this is we are always connected. Many times your smartphone is the first thing you see in the morning and the last thing you look at before heading to bed.
So technology has helped us all work smarter, provide better customer service, and be better connected to our teams and senior management. It has helped in many ways to keep a good work/life balance which is so important in our connected environment.