conference room with people in meeting

It’s probably no surprise to you that property teams are busier than ever. They’re managing more responsibilities for more complex buildings with fewer resources than they used to. Technology has the power to lighten the load, but only if it’s the right technology fixing real problems.

At a recent event with Propmodo in NYC, I presented a session on how to truly drive value through process automation. I’ll give an overview of the key takeaways here. You can also download a full eBook version of my presentation, which goes into more depth.

Property Teams Spend Too Much Time on Manual Processes

We work with hundreds of property teams across the country, and one constant in those conversations is how much of their day is taken up by tedious, manual processes to manage day-to-day aspects of building operations.

The unfortunate news is that technology is sometimes making the situation worse. By adding new tools and data inputs, teams are getting overloaded with learning new systems and processing additional data. As a result, tenants and teams are circumventing difficult tools and the property teams are left filling gaps with (you guessed it) more manual processes. 

The best property management teams are incredibly tenant centric. While it might feel like you’re doing what’s best for the tenants by taking on all of these manual processes, you’re actually hurting the tenant base. With all the time going to these tedious, time-consuming tasks you don’t have the time to take on higher-level projects that could have a significant impact on tenant satisfaction in the building.

Identifying Your Team’s Time Sink

The first step in fixing your team’s process challenges is by identifying the tasks that are taking up too much time. While we’ve listed a few of the major offenders below, your time hogs might surprise you.

Try having your team track their time for a week or two. They can use an Excel spreadsheet or one of a variety of free online tools. The more detailed they can be, the better—but even with some basic time tracking you’ll start to see patterns in where time is going.

Once you have a little data, you can sit down with the team and dig into the activities that are taking up the most time. Walk through the process as a team to highlight the aspects of the process that are taking up the most time and determine why.

The Biggest Offenders Stealing Property Teams’ Time

It’s tempting to think that there’s a single offender or a specific aspect of building operations that sucks up a team’s time, but a wide variety of activities can expand when manual processes are involved.

The three biggest offenders we see involve disparate parts of building management but are all plagued by time-consuming manual processes.

1. Overtime HVAC Requests: Receiving, fulfilling, and billing for overtime HVAC requests takes up thousands of dollars in man hours each year for many property management teams. The process involves multiple people, systems, and mediums to handle each request, leaving far too much room for error.

2. Submeter Reading and Billing: Clipboards and spreadsheets are still the most common method teams use to manage their submeters each month, requiring hours of time from multiple team members.

3. Tenant Communication: Most teams have a plethora of information to communicate to their tenants and no reliable, consistent means of engaging the tenant base on an ongoing basis. This often leads to a haphazard information stream.

Evaluating the Right Technology Solution to Help

Once you’ve identified the processes that are taking the most time from your team you’re in a better position to find a solution to fix them. Having a solid understanding of the problem you’re trying to fix will help you stay focused on finding a solution that solves your problem, making you less likely to try to force an existing (or vaguely related) tool to solve your issue.

Ask around to see who has tackled these challenges previously and learn about their experiences. Talk to other property teams in your company, trusted vendors, and others in your network. Many teams are facing the same challenges, so it’s highly likely that someone has tried to fix the situation your team is dealing with.

Download the eBook for a more in-depth look at how to identify the right solution provider, including a checklist of questions to ask as you evaluate potential options.

The only way to drive true value through process automation is by identifying the most problematic gaps in your processes today and finding tools specifically designed to solve those problems. This will help you quantify a true return on investment (ROI), because of the man-hours you’ll be able to save across your team.

Schedule a demo today and see how Genea helps property teams automate their building and improve day-to-day processes!

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