An estate manager is in many ways like the head of a company. They are directly involved in the hiring of full-time staff members including maids, nannies, cooks, and gardeners and oversee their training and performance. They must also be experts in creating a digital house manual, managing budgets and special projects such as renovations, and well-versed in regulations regarding employment and construction. Some are even involved in the purchase or sale of large assets such as art, private planes, or yachts. Moreover, while some principals have an estate manager for each home and a “chief of staff” or central figure directing it all, in many cases an estate manager is responsible for multiple homes. Either way, it can be a twenty-four-hour, seven-day-a-week role that carries a great deal of responsibility, including serving as liaison between the principal and the outside world.
It may be difficult to imagine an enterprise like this not employing technology, yet like the property management field in general, estate managers have historically been reluctant to do so. This is largely due to the concern that technology would somehow depersonalize the deeply personal service they provide. While this is an understandable perception, it is also inaccurate. We’re not talking about sending a text instead of picking up the phone, but about utilizing all-in-one platforms like EstateSpace that help you compile, organize, and access data so you can streamline administrative tasks and run the household like a well-oiled machine.
Perhaps the best example of this is the digital house manual for the property, which the estate manager is usually responsible for creating and updating. Not surprisingly, these manuals are quite comprehensive, laying out everything from information about the property (i.e. dimensions, plumbing, any structural concerns, etc.) and protocols to the principals’ preferences about travel, foods, and guests. Given the fact that the estate manager may be handling two, three, or more properties, the value of having these manuals in digital form cannot be overstated. Using EstateSpace, estate managers can upload and revise them on their devices so they can instantly access data on any property, and the physical assets within it, to make decisions more efficiently and/or assist the principal in doing so.
Just as important is the ability to share this digital house manual with others via the platform. Now, whether they are new to the household or have been with the family for decades, staff members can easily check protocols to ensure they are doing things properly, which gives them more autonomy and saves the estate manager from having to be a micromanager. When the fit is perfect, one’s household staff can be as close as family. They are present for the ups and downs in the principals’ lives, keep their confidences, and offer support that goes beyond a job description. Digital platforms like EstateSpace do not replace that human connection – on the contrary, they simplify the utilization of data so everyone can focus on the interpersonal and executive skills that differentiate them from others in the field.