In property management land, the customer is our priority, and delivering to their expectations has always been front and centre when defining business success. From the structure of teams to the systems and processes, they all have a focus on how the business can best serve the customer - a recent example of this is the industry’s COVID journey. Over the last six months, the industry has been diligently working to ensure their customers have been kept informed. Property managers have phoned their landlords, they have worked closely with their tenants, and they have created an enormous amount of written communication to ensuring both were kept updated in impacts to the industry that may affect their property. The customer has always come first.
A place where we often stumble over, which leads to letting our customers down, is covering leave. Property managers work hard, and time is a rare commodity. So what happens when one of them takes leave or calls in sick for a couple of days? There have many different designs of leave cover. The buddy system and the roster system come to mind, but whichever method is chosen, it is almost impossible to ask one person, who is stretched to the limit, to cover another person that is stretched to the limit. In most cases, this puts undue pressure on the person covering leave, but also the customer who is geting a significant reduction in service levels.
it is almost impossible to ask one person, who is stretched to the limit, to cover another person that is stretched to the limit
To solve this problem, there are two key friction points to consider. The first is simply the work. Most property managers don’t use a proper workflow tool, and their memory drives most of what they do. When a property manager goes on leave, they take this memory with them. It takes someone covering their role 3-4 times longer in doing a task. The person covering often has to dig around the system and in emails to understand where a job is up to before they can continue working on it. Most property management systems have a task concept that allows a property manager to make notes, set reminders and add documents to an individual task. Having these tasks allow any other people to pick up that task and effectively continue working on it without the time-consuming job of finding the backstory.
It takes someone covering their role 3-4 times longer in doing a task.
The second friction point is, how do you take an already busy property property manager and have them effectively cover another busy property manager, with out the customer being impacted. The trick is to delegate different people to perform different tasks. The workload can then be spread across the entire team, reducing the impact on one person. Have one person cover emails and phone calls, to ensure the customer is being cared for. Have another person cover maintenance, another cover inspections, another cover arreas and so one. Obviously this would be much hard in a smaller officer, however, those with 4 or 5 people can execute on this quiet successfully.
The workload can then be spread across the entire team, reducing the impact on one person.
By making a couple of tweaks to the way leave cover is performed, you can significantly reduce the strain this has on your customers and your team. By Utilizing the workflow tools available to you and spreading the workload across the team, you will reduce the stress on any one person to cover another team member while they are on leave, and ensure you continue to deliver a quality service to your customers.