Addressing health and wellbeing in the multifamily property industry
Property managers in multifamily communities wear many hats, and it’s impossible to be an expert in all of them. In the leasing office, you have to be a marketer, a lawyer, detective, and credit agency all at once – but everyone who’s made this attempt at perfection knows that it’s not reasonable to think we can excel at everything.
To paraphrase the great Ron Swanson from the popular show Parks and Recreation, “Don’t do a poor job at multiple things; do a great job at one thing.”
It’s no secret that property managers are worn out. From the disruption of the pandemic to recession fears, it’s been a rollercoaster ride since 2020. Change is happening at a faster pace than ever before – other industries are struggling with staff retention, high turnover, and onboarding new hires, and the multifamily sector is no exception. With more people working from home, residents are relying on the property management office even more.
Mental and emotional health for property managers
A recent survey conducted by NAA in partnership with SwiftBunny highlighted the emotional and mental health challenges within the industry. The survey respondents included “corporate office personnel, regional operations team members, and on-site employees, with 73.5% representing on-site employees.”
The survey confirms what many property managers already know: stress and increased workloads are affecting people’s personal wellbeing and their ability to provide the best service to their communities.
The findings of the NAA survey are consistent with what we’ve seen in MRI Software clients. Based on conversations with some of the larger property management companies that use our software, we observed the following:
- Retention problems. More property managers are unsure of whether they will stay in the industry.
- Workload has gone up. Everyone feels like they’re trying to do more with the same or fewer resources.
- Trainings gaps. Only around a third of people feel they have received the training they need to be successful.
- Dealing with conflict. A large part of the job is about handling disgruntled residents or landlords.
- Mental health struggles. With so much stress in the office, people are having trouble “switching off” after work.
The dangers of stress and how to manage it
We’ve all been told that too much stress is bad for us, but did you know it can create serious long-term health problems?
It’s been estimated that stress is the underlying cause of 75-90% of all hospital visits. Prolonged stress can disrupt many of the body’s processes and increase the risk of heart problems, high blood pressure, and stroke.
But perhaps just as bad as the physiological aspect is what stress can do to your mental and emotional well-being. Studies show that prolonged stress can lead to mood swings, difficulty sleeping, decreased concentration, and an overall feeling of being totally overwhelmed. It’s no one wonder so many property managers feel burnt out!
Factors that impact wellbeing and work-life balance
Despite the increase in stressors, property managers are still driven to provide outstanding service to their clients.
Tasks that add value to the community and make residents happy – such as undertaking regular maintenance projects and completing unpredictable resident requests in a timely manner – can also take up big chunks of emotional bandwidth, making it ever harder to maintain a work-life balance.
Left unchecked, this pattern traps hard-working property managers in a nonstop cycle of stress. Increased workloads can lead to stress, which leads to staff retention issues, which leads to exhaustion. That leads to lapses in resident satisfaction, and the cycle restarts.
It’s time to rethink how we do things!
Life as a property manager doesn’t have to be lived one fire drill to next. There is a way out of stress, and it involves a series of practices that can help you maintain a healthy work-life balance. With the following ingredients, you can gain back your peace of mind and find that perfect balance between a healthy working life:
- Time management. You’re an expert at providing great service to your residents, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need a break. Take time away from work to recharge and refresh your mind.
- Employer support. When you know that your employers and your teammates have your back, coming into work becomes that much easier. Here, the cliché rings true: If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
- Confidence in your systems. Managing a community looks a lot different today than it did in past decades. While there are more challenges, there are exponentially more tools to help you overcome those challenges, and choosing the right ones is paramount to taking care of residents, business, and yourself.
How technology can give you time for what matters
You’ve probably heard the famous quote from the book Atomic Habits: “You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.”
It’s time to let technology do the work for you, so that property managers don’t have to wear multiple hats or be the bad guy. Finding the right tools and services to handle the different areas of operation can seem daunting, but no one knows what you need better than you do, and the perfect solution is out there.
Here are ways that software can help save time, letting you achieve more without sacrificing your personal wellbeing:
- Marketing tools to attract the best residents.
- ID verification that catches bad actors before they come through the door.
- Screening that helps you identify the most qualified applicants.
- Insurance programs that protect your team and community from financial issues.
- Resident self-service solutions that automate payments and renewals.
The multifamily industry is made up of people who stick together and support each other, through good times and bad. With the right tools, you can take better care of your residents, your business and yourself.
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