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3 Ways Property Managers Can Break Through Productivity Barriers

What obstacles make it difficult to get your work done on time? As a property manager for a multifamily community, you might feel like you’re always days behind on crossing items off your to-do list. It’s easy to see why when you consider all the challenges you face in a day:

  • Preparing countless reports for management.
  • Training new leasing agents.
  • Responding to resident complaints.
  • Brainstorming solutions to problems.
  • Trying to get back on track after constant interruptions.
  • Figuring out what to do with all those resident packages that keep piling up.

We won’t pretend to have the solutions to all your problems, but we do have a few suggestions that’ll improve your overall productivity.

Create a Repeatable Process for Onboarding New Associates

Being short-staffed is challenging. If you agree with over 40% of property managers who answered a Multifamily Insiders poll, it’s the top obstacle to getting your work done on time. For over a decade, the multifamily employee turnover rate has hovered around the 30% mark. With employees frequently moving on to new opportunities, you might feel like you’re constantly training someone. Onboarding distracts you from your daily responsibilities, and it can take a while before a new associate is up to speed and can be truly independent.

Think about ways you can improve how you train new employees on your key control policies and systems. You can use most of these tips for training in other aspects of your business as well.

Document everything.

List out the tools the employee needs to do their job, their responsibilities, FAQs, where to find help guides, etc. This step will require careful planning because you’re already strapped for time as it is. To make it happen, work on it a little bit at a time or even have an existing employee document their job throughout their day. Investing a few hours in this project now will save you more time in the end.

Delegate training.

If you’re short-staffed, you might immediately write off the suggestion to delegate employee training. If you do have another employee to handle training, that’s great. But if you don’t, you’re not out of luck. Encourage new hires to take advantage of any and all training resources available, such as training resources offered by vendors, online videos created by other people in similar roles, or help guides written by previous associates.

Create a training schedule.

Building schedules around the unpredictable nature of property management is tough. If you can designate specific times for training, that’s great. If not, create a sequence of tasks you can cross off the list when you and your new staff member have time.

Set aside time for questions.

Even if you delegate training, your new team member will inevitably have questions that only you can answer. By making time on the calendar, you don’t have to worry about being interrupted with questions whenever they pop up, and your employee will benefit from your undivided attention.

Figure Out How to Track Packages

How many times have you relived the following scenario? A resident stops by the office to pick up a package. “Where is my package? The tracking shows it was delivered yesterday,” they say. So you take a break from following up on rent payments (or one of the many other tasks you have to squeeze into your day) to go look for it.

You rummage through a pile of packages, many of which have been sitting there unclaimed for days — or even weeks. The package is nowhere to be found. You apologize and ask the resident to come back tomorrow. The cycle repeats.

Odds are, package management issues take up more of your time now than ever before. Cut down on interruptions from residents looking for packages by implementing a package tracking solution that allows you to:

  • Create a record of the package.
  • Scan in its information to a central location, like your electronic key control system.
  • Automatically notify residents via email or text message that their package has arrived.
  • Have residents sign for packages.
  • Print a receipt to show they’ve picked up the package.

When you get packages to their recipients quickly, everyone wins. Residents don’t have to go looking for what they ordered, and you don’t have a pile of boxes interrupting your regular office functions. Plus, starting a log for each package once it arrives on-site will help prevent miscommunications and protect your community from liability.

Get Your Reports Under Control

If you’re doing the job of two (or more) people with the time and energy of one person, it’s understandable that you’re overwhelmed. Throw in a slew of reports, and the challenge worsens.

In the Multifamily Insiders poll referenced earlier, “Too many reports” is the second-highest productivity barrier. One property manager said they could deal with being short-staffed if they had a streamlined operational process and transparent communication with corporate. Another manager expressed frustration with using software that creates one or two separate reports instead of a single report.

If you feel like your data is controlling you, take back control with a few simple steps:

  • Create shortcuts wherever possible. Does your key control system give you the option to save favorite features or create shortcuts to most-used reports? Take advantage of those options to cut down on clicks.
  • If you have to back up reports, take advantage of automatic cloud backup.
  • Create one report with the data you need instead of pulling multiple reports that include data you won’t use.
  • If possible, set up reports to automatically send to key people instead of exporting the report, then attaching it to an email.
  • Get the frequency right. Set alerts for urgent issues and set up reports for an amount of time that gives you time to review them. Too often, and you’ll start tuning them out. Not often enough, and you’ll have too much data to review at once and could miss something important.

Little changes like these might not seem significant, but saving a few seconds here and there can add up to significant chunks of time.

When you follow all these suggestions together, you can break through productivity barriers and put some valuable time back in your routine.

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