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How tech can help stave off burnout

By Zarah Torrazo
29 March 2023 | 11 minute read
Maria Milillo reb

Technology can be a powerful tool in not only mitigating risks of data breaches, but also promoting employee wellbeing, according to an expert. 

Speaking on a recent episode of The Wire, Maria Milillo, the head of property management at Raine & Horne, stated that cyber security risks have become a major stressor for the real estate industry. 

She highlighted that the recent increase in data breach incidents across several industries has added pressure for businesses to step up their cyber security practices to prevent one from affecting their operations while remaining vigilant about a potential attack. 

“We know the stress that [data breaches] can cause, we’ve talked about stress and burnout, and this is just adding another layer to the potential stress and burnout of our business owners and our property managers,” she explained. 

With this, the executive called on business leaders to provide the right support for their respective networks, including providing training sessions about minimising the likelihood of a data breach. 

However, she acknowledged that any efforts towards bolstering cyber security through the right technology does still require “a lot of due diligence” from business owners to make sure that their office and their business and their staff are complying with the suggestions or the rules that are in place to help mitigate those losses or those breaches. 

For example, she cited that offices still need to evaluate their supplier agreements with their third-party providers and ensure that “their privacy and their security is where it should be”, as it can be a potential point of vulnerability in their cyber security parameters. 

She also called on businesses to focus on going above and beyond when it comes to cyber security measures, underlining that “it is important to protect the security and privacy” of all involved parties. 

Aside from protecting employees from the stress brought on by cyber security threats by helping them become more tech-savvy, Ms Milillo also explained how leveraging technology can help address some of the industry’s biggest pain points: recruitment and retention. 

"[Because] we are in this crisis of shortage of staff, we need the technology more than ever,” she stated. 

Ms Milillo highlighted that while most businesses embraced technology during COVID-19, it is not adopted in its entirety. 

While businesses are now using tech products to “help streamline their efficiencies”,  the executive highlighted that they are now “looking to do things even further” due to staff shortage.

“They need to get bang for buck when it comes to property managers and the efficiencies they get out of them,” she noted.

Ms Milillo highlighted that the staff shortage has led to an increase in outsourcing, leading to an increase in the ratio of properties managed by property managers but with “more support”. 

“And I think that’s sort of how things are going to head towards more properties per property manager. We might see that average increase, but much more support in terms of leases and administration for checking applications, among other things.” 

With principals now more in tune with the challenges that property managers face due to the disruption caused by the pandemic, Ms Milillo highlighted the importance of investing in this aspect of the business which she believes is erroneously perceived as the “poorer cousin to sales”. 

“They’re experiencing a challenge in recruiting and finding new staff, and I think that they’re also seeing how profitable with skyrocketing rents at the moment, they’re obviously receiving the benefits of that. Having said that, they are also probably experiencing an increase in their own business costs, in cost to salary as well,” she stated. 

In terms of technology, Ms Milillo recommended business leaders giving property managers “the best products out there available to use”. 

“Some property managers out there might be thinking, ‘I’m working on a five-year-old computer and I’ve got an ancient phone that I’m given’.

“I think principals need to step up and make sure that they’re given good quality technology and software to use. There’s lots out there, and there’s lots of ways that property managers can ensure that they are working as efficiently as possible if they just look out to see what’s available for them, talk to other property managers, and go into real estate forums online,” she said. 

Aside from being knowledgeable about the best tech pieces that can work for their property managers, she underlined having the right equipment just won’t cut it; business leaders must put focus on providing ongoing support. 

“The ongoing training is really important and supporting them in whatever their career progression might be, whatever they’re hoping to achieve,” she concluded. 

Listen to the full conversation with Maria Milillo here.

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