We need to pre­pare our­selves for the work­place of the fu­ture. But know­ing what that change looks like, and how to pre­pare for it – that's not so straight­for­ward, says Con­sole's Nhi Chang.

Elite Property Manager - - Contents - NHI CHANG Nhi Chang is a Prod­uct Owner at Con­sole. For more in­for­ma­tion, visit con­sole.com.au.

Nhi Chang

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.

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.”


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