The best tools to help you manage your agency remotely

26 March 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is forcing businesses to adapt quickly to the world of remote working. It’s all about being prepared - and well equipped.

This article was originally published on 26 March 2020. Although we endeavour to keep our coronavirus (COVID-19) content as up to date as possible, the situation is rapidly changing, so please ensure you refer to gov.uk for the latest advice and information.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is forcing businesses to adapt quickly to the world of remote working. It’s all about being prepared - and well equipped. Providing the right hardware, such as a computer, mobile phone, or tablet, is vital, but the software and the online tools are just as important, to help keep your staff productive and your agency running smoothly. 

Checking in with your team

Good internal communication is essential when working remotely and there are better options than email to keep everyone in the loop companywide. Slack is a collaborative tool to coordinate work more effectively. You can set up communication channels for particular topics or teams, so everyone can see or easily find the information relevant to them. You can also create WhatsApp groups, to keep the information flowing to the right people.

Face to face but not in person

You can host online group meetings with Google Hangouts or Zoom, share your screen or presentations, and even use Google’s speech-to-text technology in Hangouts so you don’t have to write up minutes - all while keeping up face-to-face contact with clients and staff.

Tracking productivity

Setting up a daily stand-up team meeting with Google Hangouts or Zoom calls can help you monitor what your team’s working on, and check in on how they’re coping with working from home. Trello, Monday.com, or Coda are other cloud based tools to help you collaborate on more qualitative projects, at a distance. Tasks can be assigned and deadlines set, so you’ll have an overview on how your team’s advancing. You should just make sure everyone knows what metrics they need to achieve. 

Cloud storing and sharing

Online storage means you can instantly access up-to-date documents to progress your tenancies - and stay compliant. Google Drive or Dropbox host folders and files online so your team can update and access them anywhere.

Communicating to customers

Marketing platforms, such as Mailchimp, can help you keep your tenants and landlords up to date with how you’re operating and how you plan to minimise any disruption to their service. Why not start a weekly newsletter, if you don’t send one already, so you can keep your customers up to date without them being overloaded with too many separate emails.

Virtual viewings

Even when working remotely, your in-person viewings would normally go ahead, but these aren’t normal circumstances. Matterport can help you create 3D virtual viewings, floor plans, videos and so on. If the property isn’t vacant, you can even ask the tenant to create a simple video tour with a mobile phone. You can give them advice to follow, from how to present the property to the lighting.

Choosing the right tools for you

When choosing the best options for you, you’ll need to consider how they can integrate with one another. If you’ve not used any before, you can set it up from scratch in the best combination for your agency.

If you’re already set up with Gmail, for example, then Google Hangouts could be the way to go as it’ll already be synced to your calendar. DropBox Google Drive, Salesforce, and so on can be linked to Slack, so you can be even more efficient in how you handle your day to day letting operations from afar.

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