The hot topic within our industry is the high levels of stress amongst our property management colleagues.
The figures don’t lie; they show that people are leaving their careers due to burnout but is it different to any other career? And is the stress caused by the job, or is it due to other life factors, and work just happens to be one of them?
Over the last 10 years, we have seen some of the most incredible advances in technology that have made the property manager’s job much easier, yet we seem to be under more pressure to get our job done. It feels like we have less time, more stress, more difficult clients and higher expectations — and of course, then came along COVID.
Do we wish we had easier clients to deal with, or do we need to get better at dealing with conflict? I don’t want to dismiss or downplay some of the horrible things we must deal with, but we also have a choice to get better at setting boundaries when it comes to dealing with clients and employers. And we also need to start talking more with each other to relieve ourselves from the thought that we are alone with these struggles.
By collaborating and connecting with our industry colleagues, we can support each other to share tips on how we can learn to feel better in our positions, understand that conflict does happen and learn new techniques to communicate more effectively. We can also learn how to manage our mental wellbeing, not only in a workplace but also in our personal life, which, due to COVID, has meant there is no longer that clear separation between home and office.
I see employers keen to do everything they can to help with reducing burnout and stress for their staff, and quite often, they put things in place which they think will be valued by all staff. For example, RDOs, your birthday off, monthly breakfasts and working from home, amongst others.
Sure, there will be some staff that love these perks, but not everyone will value these things equally. Getting to know your staff well enough will ensure that you can choose a more bespoke staff wellness program, which is valued by each person. This will result in a much happier, productive and settled team, who will likely stay with you for the long term.
Back in 2019, I recognised a need for more human connection within our online-obsessed world and started having meet-ups for property managers. Today our community has grown into The PM Collective, an online platform where members have access to video training and webinars from leading experts all over Australia and focuses on topics like burnout, mental health, communication, social media and community within the property management industry. We run regular in-person events to ensure that members have access to networking, wellbeing days and speaker sessions all year round to keep that support strong and keep property managers happy.
If we’re serious about stemming the flow of quality people leaving the property management sector because they’re overwhelmed or their mental health is being negatively impacted, we need to lean on each other more and we need to build support networks within our industry. If we don’t, the issues that already exist will only worsen, and we’ll continue to see the exodus of staff — something the sector just cannot afford.
Ashleigh Goodchild is a property investor, real estate trainer and the director of SOCO Realty.