Here is a thought leadership article from Keyzapp
The debate about how to get the economy moving rages on, but there’s one issue on which economists, politicians and business leaders agree - We need to get productivity up!
Simply put, boosting productivity is about getting more than we’re getting now from our people and investments, increasing the money we can make from every hour and every pound invested.
The question of how we do this is usually where the arguments kick off. Elon Musk, for example, took the nuclear option after buying Twitter, firing half the workforce and forcing everyone back to the office. At the same time, he’s forced through radical changes to the core of the business, cutting out established checks and balances in the process.
Whether you think this will work or not (we’re doubtful!) most of us are not in the position to make such sweeping change. For those of us who aren’t billionaires, here are three less controversial questions you can ask to get productivity up in your team.
What’s causing conflict and or confusion?
People are never going to be more productive if they’re not motivated. We do far better when we approach things positively, rather than with frustration, apathy, or “going through the motions”. Stresses and strains between people are one of the biggest de-motivators going, and this almost always comes down to communication.
How can you streamline things so that everyone knows what’s going on? A couple of simple things we’ve done is to introduce a “daily huddle” meeting. This is a mandatory meeting at the start of every day. It ensures we all talk to each other daily, sharing what’s gone well and not-so well. We make this an online meeting with a phone dial-in, so even those not in the office (whether in another location, working from home or just delayed) can hear what others have to say.
We’ve also learned to make heavy use of chat apps, like WhatsApp, Slack, or Microsoft Teams. You can start using these apps for free and we’ve found they are great for improving general communication.
In estate agency a number of job-related things can be a source of conflict; you guessed it, the whereabouts of keys is pretty high up most people’s lists! This is one that can be easily solved with the right tools, so take a look at our videos on Kerfuffle for a little more on this.
What’s slowing people down?
We want our best people focusing on what they do best, (which hopefully is the same as what makes them motivated and what makes us money!!). Actively looking for ways to take away unnecessary timewasters can make a huge difference.
Anything that involves pen and paper is a great place start looking for a timewaster. If something can’t be captured digitally from the get-go, then it almost always means someone has to re-key information into a digital form later. Inventories are a great candidate for digitisation which most agents have cracked, and the portals and CRMS have long since helped us capture leads most of our leads digitally. If you’re not yet digital-only, what paper processes are left to tackle?
In our business, we’ve moved on to streamlining things like voicemail- experimenting with a new phone system that automatically transcribes messages, so you can get the gist without laboriously cycling through audio recordings.
Anything that involves a protracted back-and-forth between two parties, is a good candidate for optimisation. Maintenance tools such as Fixflo save so much time by helping many tenants solve problems for themselves, and if maintenance is required, providing you everything you need, so you don’t need to go back and ask a load of follow-up questions.
Interruption may be the biggest timewaster of all. Studies show that once interrupted, it takes a person several minutes to recover their focus on the productive work they were doing. Something like a lost key in an office can lead to everyone within range being interrupted. Having to call round different staff and contractors to see who has it makes things far worse. Kerfuffle, of course, is a great place to start for easy, implementable solutions that reduce interruption and distractions.
What are the multipliers?
A multiplier is an investment that takes you forward on multiple levels. In a recent Kerfuffle panel discussion, we talked about doing just this - addressing inefficiencies and pain-points, whilst at the same time enhancing brand, reputation and even being able to introduce new services. With every investment, it pays to look beyond the obvious benefit you’re targeting to find-positive side-effects.
An example from our own experience came from an early investment in making our smart key fobs work without a mobile phone app. We were initially focusing on making it easy for our users to get started, but we quickly discovered it also allowed ordinary members of the public to report lost keys, giving our agents a new service to offer. A further multiplier is that the promise of being able to recover lost keys meant that their clients have a reason to keep the branded fob on their keys, advertising the agency wherever they go. One investment generated 3 different benefits.
Final thought: Tech investment vs Workforce investment
Over the past year, hiring good people has been more difficult than ever and continued market uncertainties make this a risky prospect for many. Taking targeted steps to improve productivity of course means that you can do more without adding people, but if you work with good technology suppliers, you ought to be able reduce risk as well. The implementation cost of many technical solutions is often far lower than the recruitment cost of new staff, and the commitment is lower as well. If you find it doesn’t work out, you can usually switch it off with relative ease, compared the pain that ensues when a staff member doesn’t work out.
And of course, if you’re looking for inspiration on the tech that might be of help, you’re already in the right place!
Who are Keyzapp?
Have you ever gone to collect a property key, only to find it wasn’t where you expected? Keyzapp relieves the daily hassle of key management, so you always know who has the keys. Trusted by thousands worldwide, and the proud holder of the EXCEPTIONAL rating at the EA Masters, our innovative smart fobs combine with a powerful cloud-based database to help you:
- Save time looking up, issuing and returning keys, banishing inefficient paper log books and lists.
- Eliminate hassle and stress caused by searching for-misplaced or non-returned keys
- Automatically chase late keys by text message
- Track keys from anywhere using smart phones and tablets
- Maintain a fully searchable audit log of all key movements or properties, key sets and people
- Promote your brand and provide additional services through our range of bespoke smart fobs.
Successful key management relies on the people who use it day-to-day, so Keyzapp is easy to learn and can be tailored to fit your business processes.