Block in a Box explains the importance of property managers retaining a work-life balance.

While 2020-2021 have been tough, they have gifted us with many lessons in life and in business. One lesson that should not be ignored is the importance of maintaining a genuine work-life balance.

Until the pandemic hit, it was fairly universally expected that people working in the property management industry (in particular, the property managers themselves) should put their clients and their residents first. While this may still seem correct to some extent, the pandemic and subsequent rise in homeworking has definitely shown that there are ways employers can support a healthy balance- without compromising on service for their clients.

Understanding the Property Management Experience

It’s well known that being a Property Manager can be stressful. But does anyone who’s not worked in or closely alongside the role really understand why? What makes it so stressful? Well, here are a few elements that come together in something of a perfect storm- making being a great, resilient Property Manager challenging:

Competing Demands: PMs are constantly battling to prioritise an ever-changing workload. It’s a constant balancing act as each enquiry, complaint, maintenance report or quote comes in.

Competing Stakeholders: PMs not only have to keep their resident’s best interests in mind, but also those of the property owner and their own employers. Keeping all parties informed and happy is no easy task.

Ever-Changing Legalities: The legal requirements for health and safety, maintenance and documentation changes constantly- and PMs are expected to keep up. They’re often also expected to be able to decipher a hundred-year-old lease at the drop of a hat…

High-Value Complaints: PMs deal with everything from leaky kitchen taps to full-scale disasters- the latter of which involves making decisions with huge monetary consequences as well as being highly emotionally charged for residents and owners alike.

Emergencies: The day to day may be filled with run-of-the-mill maintenance issues and resident queries but then, bam! You’re mid cup of tea and seemingly the world ends. PMs must be ready to deal with genuine emergencies at any moment.

On Call: Many PMs work for companies who have no out of hours support in place. Ultimately, this means that Property Managers are constantly on call- sleeping with their phones on loud just in case an emergency occurs outside of the nine to five.

There aren’t many other jobs (especially in this pay bracket) that present quite such a cocktail of stresses.

Of course, for many, this environment suits their personality and the pay-off comes from happy residents, happy landlords and well-kept properties. There are plus-sides, we promise!

Looking After Number One

While the residents whose homes you look after should be the priority during the working day, there’s a lot to be said for being able to ‘switch off’ when the day is done. We recently wrote an article about the importance of out of hours support for property managers- but this is just one component to encouraging self-care among your team.

There’s often a resistance to ‘self-care’ as a concept. It can be seen as self-indulgent, weak or even lacking in professionalism. We beg to differ. If we’re not looking after ourselves physically and mentally, or encouraging our team to do so, then ultimately, it’s our clients (and our bottom line) that will suffer.

According to Health and Safety Executive (HSE), more than half of Britain’s lost working days in 2019/20 were due to mental ill-health. In 2019, 828,000 workers reported work-related stress, depression or anxiety: accounting for 17.9 million lost working days. (IOSH Magazine)

There’s no getting away from the connection between high stress working environments and the number of sick days employees feel forced to take. If your workers can’t face their day, who will look after your clients? If they can’t provide a service with confidence and a smile, what will your customer experience be like?

Looking after your team and encouraging good mental health awareness is paramount.

Flexible Working

One of the most obvious post-pandemic shifts has been the prying open of businesses minds to the idea of homeworking, remote-working and flexible hours.

It’s now quite surprising to think of the hurdles the vast majority of employees used to have to jump through to request simple adjustments like shortening lunch breaks to leave the office early enough to pick children up from clubs, or moving start times to pre or post-rush hour to avoid a needlessly stressful (and expensive) commute.

The pandemic forced employers to go with the flow and to trust their staff- and most companies thrived. Customers quickly got used to chatting with staff while their kids played in the background and most enjoyed the odd Zoom-call-interruption from investigative cats! It seemed to level us all and remind us that we’re all humans with full lives that co-exist with our careers.

Our team worked from home while it was necessary but, as a group, we decided to come back together in the office. It’s what suits us best- we missed each other! But we certainly learned that not only can our employees be trusted to get on with the job, no matter where they are, but that they’re more than capable of owning their own schedules and ensuring the job gets done. Those are lessons we’ll take forward into 2022 and we hope many other employers do too.

Block in a Box not only provides information on how to protect your block of flats against emergencies over winter. We can also help with utilities, repairs, insurance, health and safety, and just about any other issue a flat owner or manager might face. To learn more about leasehold management companies or freehold management companies, contact our friendly and professional team today on 0333 0154 145.