Although the coronavirus pandemic has the world (and the property sector) facing an unprecedented challenge, one positive consequence seems to be certain – it is going to accelerate the adaptation of technology. Property Forum asked three people in proptech to share their thoughts on how COVID-19 is going to impact the way we work and connect to each other.
Maciej Markowski, CEO & Co-Founder of spaceOS
Short-term, COVID-19 sent us all home, cancelled events and turned our meetings into calls. Slack and Microsoft Teams sign-ups explode - corporates are trying to continue functioning. It's putting a large strain particularly on companies that never introduced flexible working policies.
Long-term, I believe, a lot of interesting effects are in store for us. You can say that COVID-19 will do for remote working what WWII did for equal employment - it will force it and people will realise that it's much less scary than they believed. We'll have a whole generation of managers that had to figure out how to manage a remote team. Technology will become even more key - to bring people together, manage community and keep us all safe. It's also not impossible that corporates will start renting less office space and will require more flexible leases. Technology, like spaceOS, allowing landlords to manage their building, but also turn some of it into flexible workspace, will come in handy.
Marian Skvarek, Founder of Realpad
I've spent the whole week on calls with our customers. We're a remote team since our inception and our customers wanted to understand how to navigate this transition. One thing that struck me was how many of our customers (including the conservative ones) took this as an opportunity to make their organizations more efficient, location-independent and employee-friendly. This makes me very confident that the way we think about office space not only will change but already is changing. One thing for sure is that we’ll see more remote working. That is why we've launched the series of webinars and consulting services tailored to real estate companies on how to adapt to working from home.
Petr Boruta, Marketing Manager at Spaceflow
While the majority of our clients are owners of commercial buildings, in the current situation we want to focus more on the residential sector. As it's now very important to communicate as quickly as possible and without actually connecting in the physical space, we believe that there will be a momentum for tenant apps. We have made it possible for space operators, building owners and neighbour communities to start Spaceflow in a self-service mode through our new website that was launched last week. In these difficult times, communities are more important than ever and we are hopeful as we see that people in residencies and co-living projects offer help to each other through the app.
As bulletin boards are being replaced with community platforms, the ability to convey a message quickly and seamlessly, in selected buildings or portfolio-wide, seems to be even more crucial for property managers as well. Many of them have started sharing tips on how people can protect themselves and each other from the virus, in addition to sharing the precautions they have introduced.
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