Yes, so work life balance is a hot topic and the ultimate buzz word in business today. The multifamily industry faces a particular set of challenges when looking to achieve a healthy work life balance simply because of the demands. If you are a property manager, it is likely that you are responsible for hundreds (if not thousands) of residents’ HOMES and LIFESTYLES. That is a heavy thing and for so many dedicated property managers it is near impossible to walk away from the community. Today we are talking about how to find a healthy multifamily work life balance without impeding on the function of the community.
One of the most familiar feelings to any multifamily industry professional is stress. There is often stress coming at you from almost every angle, residents, upper management, fellow staffers and home. Let’s not forget about HOME and our families. Far too often we lose track of the fact that the reason WHY we work is to provide a life for ourselves and our families. Stressed workers are less productive. They often take more sick days and have impeded health. This can gravely affect your work and family both.
It’s time to find a healthy work life balance!
You are ONE human being. You cannot do it all. Even if you manage to achieve this for a short period of time, it’s not sustainable long term. The number one thing you can do to alleviate stress in your work life is to train your own backup! Having a group of people who can ensure that everything gets done if you need a sick day, is invaluable. Otherwise you come back to a larger pile of work than you left, which creates more stress, which makes you sicker and the cycle continues.
Multifamily Work Life Balance: Allow your backup system to help you when you get stressed.
Even if you are in the office but are drowning in issues and cannot get all of regular daily tasks accomplished, you CAN ask for help! It is OKAY! It is not a failure on your part, and it actually serves as a good test of your backup team’s abilities to give them sporadic duties and ensure that they can handle them. This will also give you peace of mind, when you are gone, that things will run smoothly. Untested systems often fail or fall apart… test your system!
Multifamily Work Life Balance: Come to terms, emotionally, with your work life.
You cannot fix a problem you don’t know you have. If you are unwilling to admit that you need help, then no one can begin to help you! Sit down, analyze the issues, and ask for help where needed. Create an environment, for yourself and your staff, where talking about the stress of work is acceptable. This is not to say that every minute of the day needs to be filled with complaining about your job or residents, but a healthy discussion of job responsibilities and stress levels should always be in order.
Multifamily Work Life Balance: Prioritize both while on and off the clock.
Often we hear property managers say that they feel like firefighters constantly putting out emergencies in their community. It is possible that #1 you need better organizational systems in place to reduce the number of breakdowns and issues and #2 that you need to prioritize. Spend a few minutes of every day, preparing for the next day. Look over the task list that is to come and make the bigger issues, higher priority. When you are off duty, realize that a dripping faucet (although it may seem an emergency to the resident) CAN wait until Monday.
Multifamily Work Life Balance: Plan to unplug.
When you are at work, give it your 110% effort. When you are home, do the same for your family. It is unfair to your family and yourself for you to be delaying dinner reading emails or taking calls. Have plans in place that allow you to truly be GONE when you are gone from the office. Being able to compartmentalize your work and home life will give your brain and emotions time to unwind. This in turn, makes you a better manager and employee.
Multifamily Work Life Balance: Keep to schedules.
It is easy for the day to get away from you in the office and at the end of the day still have tasks that need doing. Staying late for multiple hours is not productive. Often your mind has checked out and you are not giving your best to the job while also putting strain on your family. Go home. If you must work from home, give it a designated amount of time and then STOP and enjoy your life. That is WHY we work correct?
Multifamily Work Life Balance: Communicate schedules and time off with your family and employees.
If employees are given adequate notice that you will not be in town or answering calls on XX dates, then they can work out systems to account for that. If you decide, on a dime, to take the long weekend, that puts everyone in a lurch including yourself. Give your employees time to ask questions and settle their own tasks to make room for yours, while you are gone.
Multifamily Work Life Balance: Don’t allow everyone else’s time to be your priority.
If your staff is allowed 2 weeks of vacation per year and they take it, so should you! In the same way that you respect their time off, ask that they do the same for you. Clearly define the boundaries between home, office and employees and your life will run much more smoothly.
Multifamily Work Life Balance: Include your staff in decision making.
This will help to keep them informed of what is happening. Additionally, it will empower them to take ownership over the decision and potentially help you with the implementation and carrying out of the decision. Often problems arise when staff feel like things are being PUSHED on them. Employees who are in involved and often more engaged and happier workers.
While we understand that for many property managers, working the 40 and going straight home is not possible, it is possible, with proper planning and organization, to establish a lifestyle that is healthy. Once you begin to work on your own work life balance, your employees will follow suit. Stepping up to help each other will ease the burden on everyone.