TIME MANAGEMENT USING ‘THE IDEAL WEEK’ as a concept may seem simple enough. However, the fact remains many principals and their property management teams are still struggling with being as productive as possible with their available working hours. Luckily, help is at hand with Jo-Anne Oliveri’s top five tips on organising your week for success.
IN ORDER TO DESIGN truly effective ideal weeks that manage your team’s time effectively, you must first understand time-motion.
Time-motion involves breaking down tasks into smaller tasks, identifying the sequence of smaller tasks, measuring the time taken to complete each of those tasks and also taking into account other factors that impact time. Not only must this process be done for each task, but for each team member who will be carrying them out.
Undertaking this time-motion process allows you, as the principal, to design truly effective ideal weeks – ones that boost productivity, performance and profitability for both your employees and your business. Here are five steps to implement this process.
- IDENTIFY, PRIORITISE, DEFINE
First, list all the tasks completed by your property management team. Then break down this list further by identifying the smaller tasks making up each large task. Next, prioritise each of these smaller tasks. For example, rental receipting needs to be completed before arrears processing in order to complete arrears breaching and tenant caution contact.Finally, define the objective of each task so you are clear what needs to be achieved to determine its completion. For example, the objective of application processing is to have the successful applicant agree, sign and pay for the tenancy within 24 hours of receiving the application.
Once task identification, prioritising and defining have been completed, you are now in a position to assign tasks to the right team member for the right amount of time.
- TASK FLOW
Assigning tasks to the right team member for the right amount of time before it then moves onto the next team member is known as task flow. As the principal, it is your responsibility to identify which team member completes which tasks and when, why, how and the timeframe they complete them in. This ensures that tasks are completed consistently and compliantly, and time is therefore efficiently managed.As there are numerous minor tasks within each one, larger tasks may require many team members. For example, when it comes to tenancy renewals, your portfolio manager must first contact the property owner and tenant to negotiate the rent and tenancy term. Once negotiated, your property management assistant then needs to prepare the tenancy agreement before your receptionist can hand it to the tenant to sign.
Understanding task flow is therefore paramount when it comes to designing ideal weeks that maximise the use of time while ensuring tasks are completed consistently and compliantly.
- MAXIMISE OPPORTUNITIES
Once you have identified, prioritised, defined and assigned your business’ property management tasks, the next step is to call a team meeting. Despite the fact that all employees’ ideal weeks will ultimately be different once designed, it is important that task scheduling be discussed as a team beforehand. Therefore, the objective of the team meeting should be to identify where time could be optimised.For example, when it comes to property inspections, you could save time and money by scheduling this task at different times on the same day for each property manager. This could also result in only one agency vehicle then being necessary. By aligning your team members’ roles and property portfolios at the outset, you can identify ways to maximise the use of time and resources when designing your team’s ideal weeks.
- PORTFOLIO TIME SHARE
Portfolio time share benefits not only your business and team, but your clients too. For example, in the event of an emergency, it is not acceptable for clients to wait until their property manager is available in order to rectify the situation. As such, the most effective way to ensure that there is always a licensed property manager in the office is to implement portfolio time share.This means that if there are two or more property managers, their ideal weeks should be almost exact opposites. For example, when one property manager is out of the office, the other should be in the office. This not only maximises the use of time, but ensures that your clients are always kept happy too.
- COLOUR CODING
Task colour coding is imperative when you are designing your team’s ideal weeks. This may seem like rather an unimportant step, but it can in fact help reinforce your business systems.Your team’s ideal week task colour coding should match your agency’s checklist colour coding. For example, if your new tenant checklists are purple then all new tenant tasks on your ideal weeks should also be coloured purple.
Visual recognition is key to creating effective ideal weeks, as it helps your team implement your business systems with maximum efficiency.
Once you have worked through these time-motion steps and taken into account other important factors influencing time, you are now in a position to design truly effective ideal weeks.
As you should understand by now, ideal weeks cannot simply be replicated from team member to team member; each one must be designed for the individual and consider how and when that individual completes tasks. Ideal weeks should also be dynamic documents that change as your business changes.
It may seem like a long process, but once you have designed and then implemented these truly effective ideal weeks, your property management team and business will enjoy increased productivity, performance and profitability as a result.