Elite AgentEPM: Productivity

Property Manager tips – working from home

Michelle Rigg from RentWest has created some tips for Property Managers when working from home.

Property Manager tips – working from home transcript

Hi, I’m Michelle Rigg.

I’m the general manager at Rentwest Solutions.

We’re a property management company in Perth WA.

I want to talk with property managers about just getting ready and preparing properly for working from home, as most of you are now.

It is a little bit different in these times than the usual remote working.

So I just want to give you some tips.

In a normal situation, you haven’t got the kids at home, your partner’s, or your housemate’s at home with you, and you’re able to sort of go to the gym and do all those normal things.

So we’re going to talk about some tips to keep things as normal as possible.

The first thing I really want you to do and recommend is you having a chat with your employer.

Just understanding what their expectations are during this time, because you are expected to keep working, okay?

And the important thing is, is to have your workspace set up in an area that’s not in the main living area.

You need to be able to disconnect from your work, and it will also lessen the distractions during the day.

Now, if you’re not able to set your workspace up away from the main living area, then try to do it so that you can at least put it away or hide it at the end of the day.

Again, to disconnect from that work.

It’s really important to have that disconnection to be able to go home from work, just in a different way as you always have been.

But let’s carry on.

I want to try and give you some tips to avoid you from wanting to lock your kids, your partner or your housemates in the cupboard to avoid those interruptions.

The pets, we don’t mind about them.

We’ll always encourage the interruptions from the pets.

They’re the soothers for us during the day. So the first thing is, is to keep things as normal as possible.

And that means that wake up at the normal time, keep that routine the same, get up, have your breakfast or whatever you did.

If you went to the gym, then maybe do an online workout.

The fitness world has been really great during this time.

They’ve got heaps of fitness workouts on YouTube, and all the other areas.

There’s yoga, there’s everything.

Otherwise, just go for a walk.

You can go out there, get some fresh air.

Go for a walk, go for a run, go for a bike ride.

But if you did exercise in the morning, keep doing it.

Keep to the same routine.

If you put a load of washing on, if you made your lunch or the kids’ lunches, you still got to have lunch.

So still make the lunches and keep things as normal as possible for the rest of the family as well.

But that normality is really important for your mental health moving forward.

Then, check in with your team.

Say good morning.

Say good morning to everybody with the video on.

We want to see your faces.

So easy in this time just to get soaked up with social media, phone calls and emails, and not have that visual connection.

We need that visual connection just to really make our day, and just to see that there are other people out there going through exactly what we are, and that our friends are there, our work colleagues are there.

So make sure, good morning, video on.

Saying good morning has a lot of mental health benefits.

It’s that restart for the day.

It’s that little start for the day that you know yourself, you’ve got to have somebody saying, “Good morning, how are you?”

It’s that real kickstart for the day that you need, but you need that facial recognition for it as well.

So make sure that you’re doing that every morning with everybody in your team saying good morning. Start your day off right.

Then, plan your day.

Have a plan for the day, of what you want to achieve.

And you’ll include your Zoom meetings and your phone calls as you normally did.

Property management is pretty much still same, same, we’re just not out as much as what we were.

So we’re more at our desks, which is another thing to be concerned about, because we’re sitting on our butts way more than we have before.

Normally in an office environment, you’re getting up, you’re walking around, you’re making the copies, you’re chatting to your friends, you’re going out and doing inspections, doing all those things.

Even if you’re an admin, you were still moving around more than what you will be working from home.

So it’s really important when you’re planning your day that you’re doing it in blocks.

And for whatever reason, they say 57 minute blocks on, so you’re focused in that 57 minutes, 20 minutes off.

Now the 20 minutes off doesn’t mean that you’re not working, it’s just that you’ve come out of what it would have focused on, of really concentrating on one thing. One subject.

It might be doing your online inspections with your tenants, or something like that.

But your 20 minutes off might be you phoning just your owners and tenants, just to check in with them.

So you didn’t really have a purpose or it might be just a quick followup call, might be the time where you’re checking in with your colleagues to see how they’re doing.

Get up, walk around, make yourself a cuppa, go outside, stick your head outside, get a fresh breath of air, get that fresh air through you, and wake up again, and then get back to work. Because remember, we are working.

So plan your day, work in blocks, keeping contact with your colleagues throughout the day.

Part of property management, and the problem solving with property management is talking with each other.

That’s how we solve things.

And also, you guys are always taking really deep, deep phone calls, really troubleshooting phone calls that you have to work your way through. That’s what we are as property managers.

But even more so in this time where you’ve got calls from tenants who’ve lost their jobs, and are struggling to pay their rent, and owners who are in the same boat.

It is a really different time in that regard, and you guys are at the frontline of people’s mental health, and keeping them sane, or helping them as much as you can.

So really, you need to also look after your mental health, with connecting with your colleagues and having those convos, or download conversations that you would normally have.

And again, do them by video, because when we see our facial recognitions, that might allow you to pick up that a team member who’s saying that they are okay is not really okay.

And that’s the problem with having phone conversations, or just chatting on WhatsApp, or whatever other mechanisms you’ve got.

Because you really can’t see that importance of the facial… the body language that’s going on.

So try to have those video connections to keep checking in with ourselves and looking after your mental health.

That’s really, really important.

Take a lunch break. It’s so important to take a lunch break.

I know a lot of you would be having lunch if you were at the office, you’d be having lunch at your desk.

Please, one thing during this time, do not do that. As I said, you’ll be sitting on your butts more and more in front of that computer.

It’s so important for you at these times to get up, have you lunch somewhere else.

Or perhaps, it’s a lunch in a different way.

Maybe where you would have sat in the kitchen at the office with a colleague, you’re having a virtual lunch. Fine.

Have the computer on then, or have your phone, and go into your kitchen and have a lunch time with your colleagues.

Video on, always video on, to check in with each other.

Go for a little bit of a walk.

Get that fresh air.

And if you are at home with kids, they need a lunch break too.

They sit home, they need to get out in the ovals play and everything like that.

So maybe if you’ve got a park or something nearby, maybe that’s the time you might take them out for some fresh air as well.

Settle them down a bit for the rest of the afternoon.

They need to get out and get some fresh air too.

Always remembering social distancing of course.

But those breaks are really, really important.

Eat healthily.

It’s so easy when we’re sitting there, and we’re not doing things, and we’re just working away.

Making sure that you’re not having too many snacks and things.

Just try to keep to your same routine that you would have done in normal circumstances.

That’s really, really important.

It’s also important to end your day at the normal time.

Time goes when you’re working at home.

It does.

You get lost in it, and the next minute, it’s 6:00 or whatever.

Though if you’ve got kids, they’ll be probably knocking on your door or coming up to you, because they’ll want to be fed. But please, make sure you’re logging off.

It’s not healthy for you to work extra long hours and get drawn into things.

You need to have those breaks.

Your mental health is so important in these times.

And it’s also your physical health as well.

We do have to switch off.

You have to reconnect.

And unfortunately, we’re probably more inclined to sit in front of computers, and phones, and TVs in this time, than we would normally.

So try and find ways that you can do other things.

Go for a walk, just do hookups with your friends, rather than just having that zone of looking at the screen all day.

But refreshing your brain is so important for your mental health, your ability to do your job well, and your ability to stop locking everybody into the cupboard.

So hopefully these are some tips that will help you through.

Stay safe everybody.

Remember the social distancing, and the hygiene rules, and we will get through this.


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Samantha McLean

Samantha McLean is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of Elite Agent and Host of the Elevate Podcast.