If property managers only had to answer the phone all day and had no other tasks to complete, it would be fine.
However on top of incoming phone calls they also have to attend to appointments in reception (most without an appointment made prior), attend to other staff queries, PLUS on top of that get their tasks done as well.
This is why many property managers end up working lots of after-hours to keep up with the immense workload. This then results in stress, burnout, disillusionment and ultimately, resignation.
It’s in their best interests to know how to control interruptions.
These ten keys were inspired by ideas recently posted to our Facebook page in a competition.
Here are ten keys to help you reduce and eliminate interruptions:
1- Have a ‘Power-Hour’
Have a set hour for time-out each day at the same time where you cannot be interrupted. Allocate a set time in the morning where you and other property managers must not be disturbed. This will get some serious task flow done!
2- Working from home
If management is agreeable, perhaps have 1 or 2 days a week based in a home office, logged in remotely to get your tasks done. At the end of the day, a property manager should not be measured on the hours they work, but the results they achieve. This will only work if the PM has a proven track record for getting tasks completed without supervision required.
3- Use headphones
There are several property managers I’m aware of that put on headphones when they are in ‘time-out’. This means they are not to be disturbed for any matter. Put on your headphones, place a sign on the back of your chair, or even raise a red flag on your desk! Just work out what will work for you.
4- Educate owners and tenants
At the start of your relationship when inducting new owners and tenants, let them know your availability. If you say to them that generally you’re unavailable by phone, but for them to send you an email, then that’s what you’re likely to get.
5- Have an appointment-only culture
Let your owners and tenants know that as a property manager you’re usually out managing property, so if they come in without an appointment you’ll be either out of the office or attending to emergencies. If they want to see you, email you first and make time.
6- Insist on repairs in writing
Letting tenants know in their induction or current tenants by letter, that you can only receive repairs in writing by email, will reduce your interruption rate with your repair calls. Naturally, emergency repairs will need to be handled right away if they call, but for everything else, insist it is received in writing.
7- Detailed property listings
You don’t want someone calling you for information on a marketed property when that detail should have been on the web page listing. And yes, people will still call you on this information anyway because they didn’t bother to read it properly. Just be detailed with all your information, including setting open times.
8- Start early, leave early
You may be able to negotiate with management to start earlier and leave earlier in the day if that will work. You’ll get three times the amount of tasks done outside of working business hours. Even starting 1 hour earlier each day will make a difference in getting your work done uninterrupted.
9- Update your message bank
Each day update your message bank, so you can allow your calls to go through to the message bank. Something like ‘Hi, this is (name) and today is Thursday the 12th of June. I will be in appointments until 3 pm, after which I will be able to return your call, so please leave your name, number, and a brief message and I will get back to you then”. This only works if you make sure all calls are returned!
10- Adjust office hours
I know of an office in Melbourne that told all owners and tenants their business hours will now be 10 AM till 4 PM each day. They got NO backlash from owners or tenants, lost no business over it, and successfully found themselves 2 hours each day of uninterrupted time for a task flow.
Usually, the answer you need is on the other side of a mindset shift and so we hope you have found these keys useful to help you get your work all done, within business hours so you can enjoy your job, better than ever.