Wednesday 28 September 2022
If there is one positive that COVID-19 brought to the modern world, it is the realisation that work-life balance matters.
People in both business and at various employment levels are craving connection with their families and the wider community and have a renewed focus on health and wellbeing.
The Asana Australia and New Zealand Anatomy of Work Index 2021 Overcoming disruption in a distributed world report shows that almost eight in 10 employees – or 77% - have experienced burnout at least once in the past year.
Half of the respondents cited being overworked as a key factor, with one in three not being able to disconnect from work.
Furthermore, the majority of workers are averaging less than seven hours of sleep a night, and one in five fewer than six hours.
The statistics don’t lie – we are tired and in dire need of a fresh approach to work.
The ability to work remotely has somewhat blurred the lines between a suitable work-life balance, particularly in those industries where pressure is felt to meet deadlines and respond to tasks immediately.
The property industry is one example of this.
It’s an unspoken rule within the property management industry that employees should respond to calls and text messages outside of business hours.
Great companies understand the business world is changing. These industry leaders are investing in tools and processes that ensure employees are given the opportunity to manage the coveted flexible work schedule while meeting expectations.
Smart businesses move with the times to ensure they retain quality staff.
Economic changes, technological developments, automation, globalisation – the list goes on. It can be a tough world to navigate and now more than ever, business leaders must show a deeper understanding of the latest workplace trends to provide employees with the work-life balance they seek.
There is no clear-cut guideline for what constitutes a great work-life balance.
Australian Government Health Direct statistics show that one in 10 employees work more than 50 hours a week.
It is a substantial figure, but it may work for some and not necessarily for others.
This thought process must be applied to work-life principles, which require an individual approach to encourage a sense of joy and balance between personal and professional life.
What experts can agree on, is that poor work-life integration has a detrimental effect on mental health.
An inability to balance work and life can lead to an array of issues including stress, isolation, lack of control, and as previously mentioned, burnout.
Ensuring a healthy approach to work has many benefits for employees and employers, including improved productivity and activity, improved sense of purpose, healthy relationships, and connection with community.
These are all key to improving mental health.
In 2019, the real estate industry recorded the second highest turnover of staff of all Australian industries with the Australian Bureau of Statistics reporting an 11.7 per cent mobility rate.
Thankfully, this figure has improved since the pandemic as Australians hold on tight to permanent employment opportunities. That said, mobility rates within the industry are still relatively high and sit at more than seven per cent.
So, what is the driver behind this retention issue? And, how can it be addressed?
Property managers have a lot on their plate from marketing for and screening tenants, to setting and handling rent, as well as managing inspections, maintenance and finance records.
It is a reactive industry and property managers must be at the ready to respond to urgent tenant complaints or requirements.
Possible scenarios requiring an immediate response could include:
Flooding, severe weather events
Property damage such as burst pipes, roofing or plumbing issues.
Electrical damage including power outages or dangerous electrical faults.
In the case of an emergency, trades must be organised and tenants reassured that their safety is a priority.
It is this urgent nature of the industry that particularly impacts a healthy work-life balance.
Work-life balance for property managers means minimising after-work correspondence and giving them more time to relax and rest.
This is most definitely a possibility – the question is, how?
Given the scope of work associated with property management, it is no surprise that employees feel the need to break away.
Add to this the ongoing demand from clients and, without proper resources and support, it can be a draining role.
As highlighted in our previous post, the industry has been hit hard by labour shortages for a number of reasons:
Increased workload: Staff shortages led by COVID-19 have led to an increase in tasks and responsibilities for employees.
Burnout: Property managers are constantly “putting out fires” to ensure that a rental is running smoothly. This can lead to high levels of stress and mental health issues. There is also a requirement to work around the clock, which in turn causes exhaustion and burnout.
Disengagement: A hefty workload and subsequent stressors can make it difficult to connect with family, friends and the wider community. Employees are realising the value of work-life balance, and of safeguarding interpersonal relationships.
Poor company culture, inadequate remuneration and inefficient systems that support the work of an employee will further drive a person’s desire to leave the industry.
Embedding change into a workplace culture is not easy, and it must start from the top.
Improved communication, speaking with all members of the team and working together to problem solve and remove unneeded stressors are key.
As a recent study of 400 working parents revealed, there are two main areas that need to be investigated to create a positive work environment for a business.
The first is to provide adequate training. The second is to create a supportive company culture.
Research from the Harvard Business Review showed that “companies that educate their leaders on the organisational benefits of providing employees with a healthy work-life balance will see better results than those that focus solely on designing formal policies”.
Change can be sustainable, cost-effective and benefit a business, as well as its employees.
Open and honest communication is great, but physical change is also extremely important.
Implementing relevant programs and processes is a vital component in achieving work-life balance while ensuring your business provides quality service.
For example, technological solutions such as the Rental Heroes property management software can alleviate laborious and time-consuming administrative tasks.
The ability to remove stressors associated with being on call is a game-changer.
Introducing an automated response system to address common tenant issues, and to provide troubleshooting and a maintenance schedule no matter what time of the day, is a winning formula.
But what exactly is a digital self-service? And how can it improve the quality of life for employees, while still servicing clients correctly?
Digital self-service is the “front door” of a business and is positioned in a virtual property management office, where tenants can obtain information or support about their current or prospective property.
A fully equipped self-service experience includes intelligent chatbots that provide detailed answers to commonly asked questions in a conversational way, enabling tenants to get answers quickly – and alleviating pressure from employees.
For starters, corporate wellness is beneficial to both employer and employee.
Creating room for work-life balance through inventive technological programs and processes will create healthier workplaces and boost productivity.
Smart workplaces are places where people want to work. Not only do employees feel supported and rewarded, but engaging with new trends will ensure staff are at the forefront of the industry.
Needs for efficiency, confidence and flexibility will be met.
Are you ready to get a happier, and healthier property management team that’s excited to work? Book a demo with us today and we can give you a proptech solution that can support your property managers.