The current social distancing and lockdown restrictions in place across much of the world are creating additional challenges for businesses, not least across the property industry. But that doesn’t mean everything can just stop altogether. Instead, we all need to find new ways of working and establish a ‘new normal’ which could have a lasting impact on businesses when restrictions are lifted.

The housing market in terms of sales has almost ground to a halt. although for landlords and tenants, there is still work to be done – without face to face contact where possible. Depending on the nature of the work you do in the sector, there are tools that can help make life easier and safer for you.

The InventoryBase app is a great example as to how new technology can make a big difference. By using InventoryBase on your PC, tablet or smartphone will help you to keep on top of all the admin while remaining on the right side of the current social distancing guidelines. The app can help you complete all the necessary paperwork and reports online to minimise the risk of contact through hard copies. It is simple and straightforward to use.

If you do find you cannot work from home and you need to make a visit, the app will allow you to complete your reports faster by using pre-loaded templates and checklists to fill out everything you need on the go. There is even the option to dictate your report as you walk if you prefer, thanks to the built-in voice recorder.

You can even use the new smart self-service reporting function to ensure reports are still carried out, without having to visit the property. This is great for mid-term inspections.

Technology can also help you keep in touch with teams who might be working remotely. Teleconferencing programs became the norm overnight, and look set to remain part of our business as usual set-up as companies across many sectors embrace digital communications that allow us to be far more flexible. 

Managing a property portfolio can be hard work even in easy times and the key is to be organised. Knowing exactly what needs to be done, where and when, is the best way to navigate through a health crisis such as the current COVID-19 pandemic. There are likely to be many more calls and emails from tenants at the moment as so many are spending a lot more time than usual at home. They may be worried or concerned about their financial security and the stability of their home, so your customer service skills as a landlord or property manager will also be tested.

When your remit covers safety, the Inventory Base app can help by recording testing dates and results, whether that be for fire alarm systems or in-depth risk assessments, through to PAT (portable appliance testing) testing on an oven or washing machine. While there might be some leniency in some elements of maintenance, for example inspection of the exterior of buildings, anything that has a legal requirement to be completed within a time-frame must still be completed and filed as normal.

This is also an opportunity to get training and planning up to date to ensure that you and your team hit the ground running when some normality returns. There is a lot that can be done by individuals online from home, and you might find that now is the perfect chance to spend a few hours doing all those tasks that have been put off for a rainy day because there was no time.

If no two days in your job in property were the same in pre-Coronavirus times, then that will certainly be true now more than ever. Tenants will be relying on you for support, and your work will have a lasting impact on their lives.

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