Eleven days, $4,000, and 601 gallons of gasoline.
The 601 gallons of gas alone is enough to have a significant impact on our carbon footprint.
As an investor, imagine what you could do with 11 more days in your year – and let’s not scoff at the $4,000 either. Money is money.
When you think about it, investors drive a heck of a lot more than the average full-time employee.
But is it possible for investors to telecommute to work? Isn’t there a certain level of importance to face-to-face conversation and the tax-deductible meal that comes with it?
Of course, face-to-face meetings are important, but it’s also important to consider the return on investment for each of these meetings.
Think of each meeting in terms of time, tangibility, and trust.
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You’ve seen the “I survived another meeting that could have been an email” meme. Will this meeting fall into that folder for people who attend it? Think about exactly what you want to discuss in the meeting. How long will the meeting take? If the meeting will be shorter than your commute to the office, just send what you have to say in an email.
You should reserve emails for very important topics that deserve special attention. Emails that come too frequently tend to get ignored.
For more frequent updates and collaboration on a topic, try video conferencing or team communication software, like Slack. On messaging websites, your collaborators have the opportunity to think about and craft a thoughtful and helpful reply – as opposed to in meetings when people struggle to stay on task and only the most socially extroverted people can come up with contributions on the spot.
Taking advantage of technology to collaborate not only saves everyone time, but it also makes your employees more productive and engaged in their work.
The next factor to consider is whether or not you have to physically see the progress that has been made on a renovation, or the options that your contractors have to offer you.
I’d say it’s important to actually see the work that’s been done on an investment property maybe once a week – or every other week – but it’s not usually important to go out of your way to see work updates daily. Instead, use the time to start, and check on, other projects.
More so, whenever you’re on site, someone stops working to explain to you what’s been done and the progress that has been made. People can feel a little uncomfortable when the boss is around, so they may be prone to make more mistakes.
If you really want to check up on how quickly a project is moving, ask for daily photos. These days everyone is equipped with a semi-professional camera in their back pockets.
Have the lead contractor take some photos of what was worked on that day. Ask him or her to text them to you an hour before they leave for the day. That will give you time to check out the photos and decide if you want a closer look at anything – or if you want them to shift focus to something else.
If the photos are screaming for you to give them more attention, then you can drive out there and check up on the place. But if this happens, there’s another factor you should consider:
All of the above requires a fair amount of trust in the people who work for you. Will they ignore your emails or messages? Will they contribute to conversations? Or will they use the extra time that they used to spend in meetings to do more work?
When you’ve hired a new employee or a new team, you won’t know the answers to those questions. It makes sense to be a little bit more involved in the day-to-day actions.
But at a certain point, it’s important to stop micromanaging and trust your employees. If you cannot do that, you may need to find new employees who do inspire your trust.
The point is to build a team that you have confidence in and then let them do the heavy lifting. That frees up your time to work on finances, find new opportunities and, most importantly, concentrate on you and your family.
By cutting down how often you meet with your employees, you save time and money while helping out the environment. The concept of telecommuting is worth considering, even in the real estate investment industry.
Do you have experience with telecommuting?
Share in the comments below!