Talking yoga, stress and first-time experience working in real estate
Isabelle Jaconelli's (right) journey with Spaceflow started in August 2020, amidst the pandemic. What is it like to start in real estate in these unprecedented times and how do you take care of building communities, where almost everyone is out of office?
"As per consequence of COVID-19, I have not been able to organise any real-life events as of yet. That said, the emphasis has been on online virtual de-stress sessions, acquiring new fun partnerships and writing helpful content to inject some happiness into a difficult time. I’ve found my background in the creative industry and communication field to be very helpful during this time," says Isabelle in the interview.
What led you to get started in commercial real estate?
I felt strongly connected to Spaceflow’s values and mission. I believe in the future of property management being increasingly community and experience-driven and would like to support and accelerate that change through working in collaboration with Spaceflow.
When did you realize that you'd be having a very different 2020?
I joined Spaceflow mid-pandemic, and as such, I knew that the prospect of having a remote onboarding experience was very likely. I had prepared myself mentally for it since I had already gone through the initial months of lockdown and knew what a WFH-environment entailed and thus, what actions I could take to set myself up for it, (many indoor plants, an ergonomic desk and a flatmate with a 3-month-old kitten). Because of this, I was very selective in my application process, I knew that, in order to thrive within my next position, I would have to be working with a great team, who’s energy could transfer through the screen and who would be willing to invest in remote onboarding and the strategy it requires.
What are your job responsibilities? How did they change after the coronavirus hit?
My role as a Community Manager for Spaceflow is very diverse. I work as a hybrid between copywriting and content creation, account management and partner acquisition. I am the main point of contact for my clients, ensuring they get the most out of our platform, as well as boosting community engagement in any shape/form.
As per consequence of COVID-19, I have not been able to organise any real-life events as of yet. That said, the emphasis has been on online virtual de-stress sessions, acquiring new fun partnerships and writing helpful content to inject some happiness into a difficult time. I’ve found my background in the creative industry and communication field to be very helpful during this time, as it’s allowed me to think outside the box and continue to grow and engage communities without being physically on-site. That said, I would lie if I didn’t say I missed people, faces, and IRL meetings. God, sometimes I even miss my morning commute, (words I never thought I would say).
What do you think you've missed, career-wise, due to the pandemic?
The most prevalent let down caused by the ongoing pandemic has been the fact that I’ve not been able to visit the extended Spaceflow team in Prague. Thankfully Spaceflow has kept everyone meeting on a regular basis through various forms of social gatherings online. And you know what they say, good things come to those who wait.
In addition to this, going to events, connecting with people and the communities I manage is something I am truly looking forward to as soon as the circumstances allow for it. I believe this pandemic has truly proven the benefits of social interaction and that the solution for beating loneliness is fostering connection. That will never go out of style.
How did you deal with being remote?
I’ve found it helpful to listen to ambient soundtracks, which make you feel as though you are sitting in a busy cafe or office space. I’m currently using Coffitivity.
Me, my boyfriend and flatmate have also opted for a lot of home yoga and meditation. As well as taking some time each day to go for a walk or a jog. In addition to this, I’ve found it rewarding to speak regularly with my colleagues, albeit being separated by a screen I feel very proud of our team and the way we are all getting through this pandemic together.
How has this past year changed your impression of the real estate industry, as well as your career path?
This year has truly been a whirlwind for the best of us. And in all honesty, it has probably made the majority of the workforce reconsider their career goals, and what is really important in life. To some, it may be that family or business is struggling, the many puzzle-pieces of life rarely falling together at the same time (especially not if you’re confined to a two-bed flat in central London). It has been a difficult time for estate owners, particularly in the commercial industry, not knowing if tenants will return and facing losses and sudden redundancies. My heart goes out to people who have or are facing challenges like these. The pandemic has stripped away our protective gear and left us vulnerable and exposed to stress, uncertainty and worry. But increasingly so, you can almost feel the creativity brewing in the background, a greater force for good which escalates when we come together. I hope to continue my journey with Spaceflow and leverage this new fuel as soon as possible. And until then, we wait, in patience, for a brighter future ahead.
What was the hardest part of your job working with landlords this year?
The most challenging and simultaneously rewarding part of working with landlords this year has been working alongside landlords to ease stressors emphasised by the ongoing pandemic. Managing expectations and answering questions which have become more complex as per consequence of an uncertain time. It’s made me realize that we are all one and the same and that no matter what happens, there are always ways to build bridges and come together regardless of the challenges we may face.
Questions by Patrick Sisson.