Bringing Wellness into the Property Management Industry
Let’s face it, the way we’re working right now- isn’t working.
On top of all the changes in the world of recent years, property Management in itself has evolved so much over the years....
Something that was a back office function without a lot of expectation has evolved into something that has mammoth expectations, endless to do lists, overflowing inboxes and has us learning multiple softwares, barraged with unwanted conflict and all of this is drastically effecting the balance and mental health in so many of our lives.
It is no wonder why when you consider that property managers and their teams are under pressure to be all things to all the people - landlords, tenants, colleagues, bosses, tradies, family, friends, communities…
They are required to wear many hats and go from maintenance coordinator to counsellor to legal expert to selling services in the space of an hour, on top of managing someone's biggest investment and all the emotion that comes along with that.
And then if they find time, then they’re tasked with identifying new clients and growing the rent roll (when it barely feels there is time to have have lunch most days).
Whilst many of us are taught these basic functions of how to manage a property (if we’re lucky in a haphazard way from our predecessor), very few of us have been taught how to respond to stressful situations (in often high risk and high intensity situations that arise). If a ball is dropped somewhere, the costs can be large.
This effect on this on the mental health of property managers has led to a point where the industry is seeing high levels of burnout and staff exodus. Staff are either needing to take extended leave to manage their mental health, they are leaving workplaces that don’t have great working conditions and some are leaving the industry all together.
So what can be done? It is hard to know exactly one thing that will make a difference but in my experience as a business coach taking a bird’s eye view, I think it’s going to take an awareness from all members in the industry and offices to approach wellness from a ground up level.
This could mean more events and training on handling stress and communication to build resilience. This could also mean individual businesses implementing their own wellness and mental health programs.
It could be down to individuals being able to speak up to say when their capacity has been reached and they need help and then more importantly leadership education for business leaders to listen and create a supportive environment for their staff and teams.
Leaders might consider implementing wellness initiatives to their team but it could also encompass leaders analysing the cost benefit of loading too many properties on one person vs taking a balanced approach which may mean less properties managed by an individual but a higher level of wellness and thus higher level of service to clients.
Regardless, in a nutshell this is about prioritising the health and wellbeing of our property managers, we’re coming off the back of a tough few years not only for our industry but for all of us in all walks of life. Whether we are in property management or not there is opportunity for us all to learn to better manage our stress, mindset and both mental and physical health.
One way to look at this is to consider our stress management as having a “stress bucket” which has a limited capacity of what we can handle in the way of stress in our day-to-day life. There are a great number of things coming into the top of our stress bucket like work, family, health, finances - which can begin to overflow and explode out of the top - causing a physical stress response in an individual.
In this theory there are two ways to alleviate the overflow, and that is to reduce the volume of stressors coming into our bucket, and then to create ways to release stress out of the bottom of our bucket. What these things are will vary at an individual level but releases could be exercise, mediation, downtime, talk therapy or even prioritising time for doing things that bring you joy.
If we apply this theory into a property management business, it could be as simple as looking for ways to reduce the stressors going into a property manager’s bucket (adding staff, software and systems to support the load), and then finding ways to support the property managers to release their stress, give them stress management skills and allow them to unwind.
I feel that if we can apply this approach proactively, we may just start to prevent some of the burnout and overwhelm that is so typical of working in property management in this current day.
We may not be able to stop the stressful situations from occurring but my hope is that the more we focus on wellness of the individuals in our property management teams, the better equipped we are able to handle them as they arise. And even feel happier and more balanced along the way.
Written by: Hermione Gardiner - Business & Mindset Coach