Whilst many companies were, or are now, equipped with the tools to allow this new way of working, there are of course those that still need to maintain a physical presence on site. In the corporate world, the Property Manager has quickly established themselves as the go to person. A natural link between them, landlords and tenants has developed, as they have demonstrated their ability to listen, understand and adapt, in order to provide the best possible support. This means helping to ensure the continuation of business activity and preparing for the end of lockdown.
Present from the very beginning of the health crisis
As soon as the first cases of Covid-19 appeared in office buildings, Property Managers were proactive and drew up processes and lists of recommendations for how organisations should implement safety measures. The objective was of course to ensure the safety of tenants, while allowing business to continue. As such, companies equipped themselves with anti-bacterial gel, communicated on the barriers that people needed to respect and put in place social distancing measures. Then, quite suddenly, across Europe, governments one by one announced a full lockdown and the closure of almost all buildings.
The announcement brought on an onslaught of questions and naturally required the creation of tailor-made plans to respond to the many situations and needs of companies. Companies’ needs were wide-ranging and each one had different circumstances: those that had been completely closed down, having to provide a minimum service or 100% occupied, single tenants, multi-tenants, the list goes on. Through all of this, it was the Property Manager who was capable of establishing a common dialogue between landlords, tenants and occupiers.
Whereas the reports related to the building and its activity used to be carried out monthly or quarterly, they are now done weekly and are much more interactive. This will enable us to truly assume our role as an advisor and help develop recommendations and strategic action plans
Property Manager: an essential role
Property Managers are technical, legal and accounting experts, but above all consultants, meaning they play a key role in the value chain. Since the start of the pandemic, they have been asked to advise on health measures, the barriers to be put in place, the interpretation of government directives, rent collection and the impact of the crisis on investments. “Whereas the reports related to the building and its activity used to be carried out monthly or quarterly, they are now done weekly and are much more interactive. This will enable us to truly assume our role as an advisor and help develop recommendations and strategic action plans for the coming weeks," says Csongor Csukás, President of Property Management France and Deputy Head of International Property Management at BNP Paribas Real Estate.
Indeed, the automation of certain processes which has been initiated in recent years for core business skills and professions has enabled teams to save precious time, which can be better used for dialogue, analysis and anticipation. The Property Management teams are thus able to provide clients with dependable advice and a meaningful relationship on a daily basis. This is particularly relevant now as BNP Paribas Real Estate managers have prioritised communication via daily telephone exchanges with their investor and occupier clients, to keep in touch and get a sense of their expectations and issues.
"Clients have been getting in touch with us more than ever before, seeing us as reliable," says Magali Michel, Managing Director at BNP Paribas REPM, before specifying that, "Nobody has such a fully rounded view as the Property Manager. Today, owners and occupiers realise how involved we are in these matters: we certainly have the data, but we also have an understanding of the building and the needs of the occupiers. In this way, we are able to make real recommendations.”. This is where the added value of tomorrow's Property Management lies.
Clients have been getting in touch with us more than ever before, seeing us as reliable
Advising beyond the usual framework
The Covid-19 health crisis that the world is currently experiencing therefore highlights the way Property Managers are able to adapt and the building up of information that they favour.
To prepare for the post-lockdown period, Property Managers are developing new specialised tools tailored to the needs expressed by companies, as well as the needs which have come out of measures and recommendations issued by public authorities. BNP Paribas Real Estate Spain for example has created the platform, Working Spaces that provides “tailored solutions for each company for the immediate return to work”. BNP Paribas Real Estate Ireland have created a similar set of guidelines, aimed at supporting clients as they go back to work and navigate the Government’s instructions.
The needs that have been identified differ from the usual framework and come in the form of recommendations. Lessors and major corporate real estate occupiers are now expecting recommendations as a given. "If we normally have a duty of providing advice within our mandates, it seems obvious that we are now going beyond our usual scope. "concludes Magali Michel.
The new real estate order is already underway! Property Management has proved its worth and demonstrated its legitimacy and importance in the real estate ecosystem. By being an expert voice and consultant, the Property Manager stands side-by-side with decision makers, coming out of the crisis united.