Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic and remote work conditions, any business looking to adjust to the new challenges has had to adopt new technologies. This led to the necessity of training employees and establishing remote work policies that had never been used before.
Of course, this type of transition is never easy for any company to endure. In real estate, for example, companies are expected to rapidly adopt new tools and maintain an online presence. But these same companies face a number of obstacles on their way to becoming fully remote-ready businesses.
1. Slow adaptation period
This is a common challenge for different companies trying to innovate rapidly. Real estate companies have always been slow to adapt to new technologies. However, technology has won out due to solutions becoming much easier to adopt. Thus, commercial real estate firms are able to introduce new technologies into their processes and continue to innovate. Although technology is evolving fast, real estate companies have to learn to adapt quickly and not be afraid to spend some extra capital to do so.
2. Implementing technology and understanding how to use it
You can invest in the most innovative and powerful piece of software, but it will only be impactful if your team adopts it for daily use. As a leader, you’ll need to devote time and resources to ensure your company understands the software and uses it for every purpose necessary.
Another problem with technology adoption is identifying software and systems that are compatible with everyone’s devices and work style. Some employees may get used to their previous technology pack, and switching to a completely different one may be distracting or even affect productivity. Video tutorials are a common need for such cases.
Moreover, there are some tech solutions, like those that allow home buyers to conduct their own viewings without a realtor. These technologies save homebuyers from paying someone to just drive them around. For smaller firms and deals, this kind of app can be detrimental to business. Their employees should focus on creating a personal touch.
For larger deals, the result is often positive as it reduces the number of hours required for both parties to come to an agreement. Keeping up the balance of using tech with the customer for the right amount of time helps to close the deals.
3. Working with clients who are used to paper-based workflows
Real estate companies deal with a variety of different documents and in high volumes. “Old-school” clients may require you to print out all the necessary papers and drive them across town to get a signature and close the deal.
Despite the fact that some of your clients find this to be much simpler, these old-fashioned ways of closing deals can end up costing your company too much money and time. Educating customers about new possibilities should be a common practice for real estate companies. You can simply call clients or send them letters and video tutorials that explain all the steps they have to follow to perform the necessary actions from their side successfully.
4. Lack of face-to-face communication
One of the biggest drawbacks is the loss of personal contact with a person when going online. But the introduction of technology does not necessarily mean abandoning human connections.
Building the ideal process means that not only are established interactions with a team comfortable, but also that new team members quickly understand the different scenarios of interaction. Any serious business achievement occurs due to several people interacting and working together. Live communication allows you to achieve mutual understanding much faster and understand employees’ desires. When working from home, each participant in the process knows enough about their tasks, but they may not know anything about the context in which this task was created. And it is this lack of task context, the context of the company’s life, that is the main problem of a distributed team.
Daily meetings, where literally everything can be discussed, are an excellent solution. When everyone understands who is working on what, there is a feeling of engagement that is necessary for team-building and success. Short reports on the personal achievements of every team member help to establish this cohesion.
5. Coordinating with tech teams
When it comes to implementing new solutions, real estate professionals are dependent on their tech teams. The IT department should be involved from the beginning of the process to ensure that the company chooses the right tools that meet its requirements and integrate with the existing tech stack.
Collaborating with the IT department will ensure a fast and quality implementation along with the adoption of the necessary software and tools.
6. Motivating and stimulating the growth of remote employees.
For new team members who have just begun to get more familiar with new processes and have worked for less than six months, expectations do not always coincide with reality. Low motivation and failure to grow can even manifest in small things, such as when working with more senior team members remotely or using new communication tools. The list of problems is something like this:
Lack of new experience: A person is tired and wants to grow by taking on new and more complex tasks.
Little attention: In a remote team, an employee has a bright mind and good ideas, but isn’t active enough or may not be so noticeable, which eventually undermines motivation.
Lack of communication or problems communicating: There are people for whom high-quality communication within a team is important, even in a remote format. If a team is too small or is built in a way that is not suitable for a person, for example, very specific internal etiquette is expected, this causes a person to “check out.”
Status doesn’t match skills: As a developer develops their skills, their current salary and area of responsibility may no longer be satisfactory. The issue is complicated by the fact that this kind of assessment does not always correspond to the immediate reality.
The only way out is proactivity on the part of the manager, team lead or another supervisor. You need to talk with team members to understand their wishes and offer new career challenges, improve internal processes and evaluate the contribution of every employee in a timely manner to stimulate their growth.
Going remote requires a lot of patience, openness to new experiences and a readiness to cope with challenges. After all, you get much more than just a remote team. You get a fully-established remote system that saves you time, money and hassle while helping to develop your business and introduce new opportunities for employees and customers.