The mental load of strata management

The unseen mental load of strata management carried by professionals is often a silent struggle. This came through clearly in MRI Software’s report “Voice of the Strata Manager” as well as the panel discussion by Carrie McInerney, the CEO of Horner Management, Talia Rebettes, ASCM Senior Strata Manager at Jamesons, and Jessica Kaye, MRI Software, who delved into the pressures inherent in a role that juggles complex responsibilities and high expectations.  

With a significant portion of strata managers reporting overtime and mental health challenges, we explore the impact of this burden and the vital role that support systems, technology, and leadership play in fostering a sustainable work environment. This article shines a light on the hidden challenges faced by those in strata management.  

How Does the Mental Load of Strata Management Affect the Profession?  

The role of a strata manager in Australia is a pivotal yet challenging one, as shown by the report’s recent findings. The statistics show how mentally taxing this profession can be, with 60% of strata managers working overtime and 69% citing their workload as the greatest hurdle.  

Strata managers play a crucial role in the fabric of Australian residential living, tasked with the coordination and maintenance of communal living spaces. This involves not just the physical upkeep of properties but also navigating the complex personal dynamics of managing multiple stakeholders with diverse interests. The fact that 43% of strata managers report struggling with their mental health is an unsurprising, but still distressing, indicator of the immense mental load that comes with this job. 

Carrie McInerney expressed her feelings about this stat: “I found mental wellness quite sad actually. Because I understand we (managers) need to help our staff when it comes to dealing with the mental load and to hear 43% of managers are struggling is an alarming statistic for senior managers.” 

This mental load can be attributed to the multifaceted nature of the job. There are several responsibilities that come with strata management. These include: 

  • Balancing financial management 
  • Enforcing compliance with laws and regulations 
  • Resolve disputes 
  • Being intermediaries between owners, tenants, and service providers 
  • Navigate difficult conversations and making decisions that won’t please everyone 

The administrative burden alone is considerable, but when combined with the expectation to be constantly available and responsive, it’s no wonder many are feeling the strain. While technology and automation has been a game changer for the modern strata manager, there is still a heavy expectation on these professionals to over commit to their jobs.  

The profession’s mental toll also stems from struggling to “switch off” at the end of the work day as the job demands almost constant availability at some level. Strata managers are expected to be problem-solvers, peacekeepers, and decision-makers, all while maintaining a high level of professional knowledge and staying across legislative changes. The emotional labour involved with strata management can be exhaustive without proper support and resources. If you are a strata manager feeling overwhelmed on any level, we recommend you read our blog article Tips to Avoid Burnout in the Strata Industry: Nurturing Your Wellbeing for Long Term Success.  

How Can Leadership and Training Support Strata Managers  

Jessica Kaye posed this important question about the mental wellbeing of strata managers: “How do you balance mental wellness and resilience, and how can you provide the tools as a business leader to make sure that your team are performing at their best, both as a human and as a strata manager as well?”. 

Leadership and training are vital in nurturing a supportive environment for mental wellbeing amongst strata managers. Leaders of firms must be proactive in endorsing a culture where taking breaks and establishing healthy work/life boundaries is not only accepted but encouraged. Strata managers should be trained to recognise the signs of mental fatigue and given the tools to assert their need for downtime, without the fear of professional repercussions. 

Empowering strata managers to decompress is crucial. Leaders should foster a workplace that values and prioritises mental health, ensuring their teams are not just performing at their best professionally but are also thriving personally.  

Regular compliments and positive feedback play a significant role in this. Considering that only 48% of strata managers feel regularly appreciated by their leaders, increasing recognition can boost morale and alleviate the self-imposed pressure to excel. Such leadership strategies are not just beneficial for the individual but can significantly enhance the collective wellbeing and productivity of the team.  

To find out more, read our article 6 Tips for Effective Communication in Strata Communities 

How Technology Can Help Reduce Stress For Strata Managers 

Technology has done a lot to help revolutionise the strata management industry. By automating routine tasks, such as accounting, record keeping, and communications, technology can significantly reduce the manual workload, freeing up strata managers to focus on more complex aspects of their role that require a human touch. This shift from manual to digital not only streamlines processes but also minimises the risk of error, creating a more efficient and reliable workflow. 

While there is an inevitable learning curve associated with the adoption of new technologies, the long-term benefits are indisputable. These tools can facilitate better time management and allow for more flexible working conditions, which can contribute to improved mental wellbeing. Once familiar with these systems, strata managers can leverage technology to enhance their service delivery, ultimately reducing stress and creating a more balanced approach to their responsibilities. The transition period is a strategic investment in the mental health and effectiveness of strata management professionals. 

Carrie McInerney spoke about the benefits of technology for strata management: “For me, technology introduced the ease of communications for our owners so they can access things when they need it. However, there is some stress involved for managers who have to balance the different platforms clients are now contacting them on.” 

Read part three of our series of articles, Future Trends in the Strata Management Industry.

We discuss the benefits of technology in strata management further in our two blogs Leveraging Data to Create Actionable Insights: Empowering Strata Managers for Success and The Power of Technology in Your Strata Portfolio Management.  

MRI Software’s Commitment to Help Strata Management  

MRI Software has committed our support to the Respect Pledge, designed to create harmony in the strata industry. The pledge is to foster positive behaviours and leadership that encourages respect on all sides of the strata community. 

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