062 CRIT­I­CAL EL­E­MENTS FOR AN EF­FEC­TIVE MULTI-GEO­GRAPHIC TEAM

THE WORK­FORCE OF THE FU­TURE is not go­ing to be work­ing from one lo­ca­tion or sit­ting in com­muter traf­fic for hours on end. In­stead, it will be flex­i­ble, re­mote and IT-savvy. Mark En­gel­mann ex­plains what this means for real es­tate busi­nesses and man­agers.

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Mark En­gel­mann

The ex­perts seem to agree that de­cen­tralised busi­nesses are highly ef­fi­cient. Ni­cholas Bloom, from the Stan­ford Grad­u­ate School of Busi­ness, says they are more re­ces­sion-proof; and for­mer John­son and John­son Chair­man Wil­liam Wel­don states de­cen­tralised firms are more in­no­va­tive. And here at Beepo, we know the cost ef­fi­cien­cies of not having to up­grade your own of­fice space ev­ery time you hire new staff has mas­sive cost sav­ings.

If man­age­ment wants to lever­age the cost ef­fi­cien­cies and su­per-pow­ered pro­duc­tiv­ity of a multi-geo­graphic team, they will need to know how to run one ef­fec­tively and de­velop their knowl­edge across the fol­low­ing five key el­e­ments.

1 PROCESS: DO YOU KNOW WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE IN YOUR REAL ES­TATE OF­FICE?

The ob­vi­ous chal­lenge with run­ning re­mote teams is the lack of face-to-face con­tact. This im­pacts your abil­ity as a man­ager to pass on knowl­edge through show­ing peo­ple how to do things and sit­ting next to them. There are, of course, ways around this.

Having prop­erly doc­u­mented pro­cesses is im­per­a­tive to ad­dress­ing this chal­lenge. This should not be dif­fi­cult, though; you can re- cord them via video screen cap­ture. Us­ing video-based process doc­u­ments or how-to’s is the quick­est way to cre­ate stan­dard pro­ce­dures. Check out the Beepo blog (www. beepo.com.au/ blog) for help on how to do this ef­fec­tively.

2 TECH­NOL­OGY: WITHOUT IT THIS ISN’T GO­ING TO WORK

If you’re not all in the same of­fice to­gether, how do you com­mu­ni­cate? Tech­nol­ogy is at a level now where it needs to be your best friend. Run­ning re­mote teams is easy when you have ac­cess to a sta­ble and user-friendly web con­fer­enc­ing so­lu­tion, head­set and we­b­cam.

We use Zoom for our web con­fer­enc­ing. Check them out at www.zoom.us. On Zoom you can have video con­fer­ences from your desk or smart­phone, al­low­ing you to pick up on those non-ver­bal cues you may miss on a phone call. You can even chat (in­stant mes­sage) or col­lab­o­rate on doc­u­ments in real time.

3 COM­MU­NI­CA­TION: EVEN MORE IM­POR­TANT WHEN WORK­ING WITH RE­MOTE TEAMS!

Work­ing with re­mote teams re­quires you to

Tech­nol­ogy is at a level now where it needs to be your best friend.

Weekly team meet­ings are easy to run on­line and are a great way to get the whole team across pri­or­i­ties and chal­lenges.

work to a struc­tured man­age­ment frame­work. It doesn’t re­ally mat­ter what that is, but you need to make sure you meet with your team mem­bers reg­u­larly, have a way of record­ing and mon­i­tor­ing what tasks ev­ery­one is do­ing, and have a way for ev­ery­one to be eas­ily con­tactable. Work in progress doc­u­ments, in­stant mes­sag­ing and reg­u­lar 15 to 30-minute catch-ups are what we do.

When it comes to com­mu­ni­ca­tion, transparency is key. Sim­ple things like al­low­ing ev­ery­one to see each other’s cal­en­dars helps the team un­der­stand where you are and what your key ap­point­ments or meet­ings are each day.

4 IN­TE­GRA­TION: JUST BE­CAUSE THE TEAM IS RE­MOTE DOESN’T MEAN IT AIN’T A TEAM!

Have fun with your team! Our team spans the Philip­pines, South­east Queens­land and North­ern New South Wales, which makes morn­ing cof­fee catch-ups dif­fi­cult. But we do make an ef­fort to catch up quar­terly for our plan­ning work­shops. We also have fun over web con­fer­enc­ing and are not shy about pick­ing up the phone if we need to speak to each other. Weekly team meet­ings are easy to run on­line and are a great way to get the whole team across pri­or­i­ties and chal­lenges.

When we bring a new per­son into the team, we sched­ule web con­fer­ences with key play­ers in the busi­ness. They ex­plore not just their pro­fes­sional back­ground and ex­ist­ing re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, but also take time to get to know the per­son and a lit­tle about their life out­side work. This is a great way to break the ice quickly and en­sure the new hires know who’s who in the zoo.

5 PEO­PLE: HAVE YOU GOT PEO­PLE ON BOARD WHO CAN WORK RE­MOTELY?

Run­ning a team across mul­ti­ple ge­ogra­phies is not go­ing to work if you don’t have the right peo­ple. You need to hire peo­ple who are not shy to use and try out new tech­nol­ogy, are flex­i­ble in the use of their time, es­pe­cially when work­ing across dif­fer­ent time zones, and also rel­a­tively au­ton­o­mous.

We’ve worked with hun­dreds of busi- nesses and in many cases it is the peo­ple piece that is the most dif­fi­cult to tackle, so im­ple­ment­ing a strong change man­age­ment plan is im­per­a­tive to your suc­cess. When re­cruit­ing, look for a his­tory of au­ton­o­mous work and an out­put fo­cus. Those who are self-mo­ti­vated will thrive in a re­mote work­ing en­vi­ron­ment.

Our cities are grow­ing at as­tro­nom­i­cal rates. In fact, ur­ban plan­ning and in­fra­struc­ture is strug­gling to keep up with the growth, and af­ford­able hous­ing is be­ing rel­e­gated to the out­skirts of our CBDs. There will be­come a point in the next five to 10 years when the morn­ing com­mute will no longer be a wor­thy trade-off for a well-pay­ing job.

If you want tal­ented, highly-mo­ti­vated peo­ple in your real es­tate busi­ness, you need to cre­ate a work­place that pro­vides them with the flex­i­bil­ity they need to live a fruit­ful life – both in­side and out­side work. Mark En­gel­mann is co-founder and Chief of Con­tent at Beepo. He has helped hun­dreds of com­pa­nies suc­cess­fully im­ple­ment an out­sourc­ing strat­egy in their busi­ness. For more in­for­ma­tion visit beepo.com.au.

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