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The secret to becoming a ‘zen PM’

By Orana Durney-Benson
29 May 2024 | 9 minute read
hermione gardiner sidekick reb ilespt

Property management is one of the most stressful jobs out there, but business leader Hermione Gardiner believes it’s possible for PMs to find peace.

With an extensive property management career in Australia and overseas, Sidekick founder Hermione Gardiner is well-acquainted with the challenges property managers face in their daily lives.

As the intermediaries between tenants and landlords, property managers are constantly faced with demands from both sides, and the struggle to appease both can take a serious mental toll.

Researcher Moni Mazzeo discovered that 30 per cent of all property managers she had spoken to had experienced a significant mental health crisis as a result of their job.

Meanwhile, data from MRI Software found that mental health is the primary reason why one in four property managers are thinking about quitting.

According to Gardiner, however, stress management skills have the potential to ease the psychological burden on property managers.

“Becoming a ‘zen PM’ is not about becoming a yogi who meditates all day, but exploring if it is possible to transform your approach to work, enhancing both your productivity and wellbeing,” Gardiner explained.

“It’s not an unattainable ideal but a practical goal that can transform your approach to property management.”

According to Gardiner, becoming a zen PM requires addressing seven key areas:

1. Understanding your current mindset: Reflecting on past and present experiences, and using these as a springboard for fostering a growth mindset.

2. Managing stress: Incorporating daily mindfulness and implementing the STOP emotional regulation technique to calm your body and mind.

3. Conflict management: Approaching conflicts with empathy, actively listening, and finding common ground.

4. Time management: Creating a weekly time-blocked schedule and using the Eisenhower matrix to prioritise tasks.

5. Maximising energy: Recharging your body through sleep, nutrition, hydration and movement.

6. Work/life balance: Drawing a “balance wheel” of your life and adjusting areas that are taking up too much or too little time.

7. Building resilience: Creating a personal resilience plan with actionable goals.

“Perhaps beyond the hard skills we’re taught in knowing how to manage the tenancy process, it’s time we look at some of the soft and personal skills we need to not only be more calm and in control as property managers, but handle all of the pressure and conflict we face with more ease,” said Gardiner.

“Stressful situations are part of being a property manager, but we can learn to become more resilient by developing a few important skills.”

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