Role of Property Management in post COVID19 era: Rajesh Shetty- Colliers Intl India

--By Rajesh Shetty, Managing Director, Real Estate Management Services (REMS) at Colliers International India. 

The Covid19 Pandemic has been by far the severest disrupter in the digital age, upstaging the ever-changing business norms, not sparing any industry, be it product based or service-related.

Property Management services largely have been oscillating from being a people-driven, on-ground service-based industry to process-centric, further on seeking digital and automation interface, to enhance both the asset value and user experience. As the new restrictions and norms are getting mandated by the governing authorities, to prevent people from exposure and contain the virus spread, the unheard possibility of property management professionals working from home, is now seeming to be a reality!

As an industry coming under essential services, it leaves property managers with little choice but to move forward, thus witnessing a shift in their roles and responsibilities. It will be fascinating to look forward to some of the focus shifts that business leaders should acknowledge and accelerate those change management, by upskilling their existing talent. 

Customer Interface: Distancing yet remaining connected:

This is a fine balance act. The mandated checks and audits of the routine upkeep and maintenance on-ground cannot be compromised. The lack of physical presence for oversight and validation needs to be overcome through the introduction of technology, prompting timely alerts, and structured reporting to all stakeholders.

Addressing customer complaints over a video than over a phone call, though it is virtual, will still give personalized service, allaying any stress or concerns of the customer. Given the non-budgeted expenses such as personal protective equipment, hygiene and sanitizing supplies, hardship in the working environment with a little compromise on service levels, will further enforce on property managers to be more engaged in the financial than ever before.  

The property manager should continue exercising caution on people and material movement for any contamination, while also finding alternate routing mechanisms by staggering activities and events to retain the overall productivity of its workforce and occupants.  

Work from home or rather work from anywhere may seem to be the norm for now, however higher level of collaboration and social engagement boosting the workforce productivity, will also be prompting every organization to entice their workforce to resume occupying office, and on that, property managers readiness offering a bio-secure environment would be the key. The introduction of drones and robotic service, and more automation and mechanization substituting the human workforce, will be the new norm. Herein, the property managers will be working closely with the developers in redesigning the amenities within their infrastructure and accordingly modifying the service offering to relieve the user’s vulnerable sentiments in the pandemic situation. 

Similar to all organizations, who as occupants, are navigating through this pandemic, the property managers will also evolve to explore creative ideas and find innovative ways to come up with an alternate property management program to overall retain the vibrancy of the property, offering to its associates a hassle-free and secure work environment, in the post-pandemic era.  

Tracking movements and integrating data information from various occupants and flashing out real-time covid19 related information instituting enhanced awareness around the health safety of all users will comfort the organizations. Further, enabling quick access to various facilities / precautionary provisions with continuous feed on the ever-evolving government norms and policies will instill confidence in the campus users on their well-being, overall making everyone more productive and steadily influencing recovery of the economy.

(With business operations in 68 nations, Colliers International is a real estate services and investment management organization. It was established 25 years ago and has about 15,000 employees. Its revenues were about USD 3.5 billion in 2019 with USD 33 billion of assets under management.)