Organization for Property Managers
04/14/2021 | dunnedwards |
Spring cleaning isn't just for vacant properties
Property management professionals must constantly hold space for two distinct worlds: the completely predictable (rent collection, leases, maintenance cycles) and the completely unpredictable (broken pipes, unruly tenants, sudden vacancies). This push-pull of circumstances can lead to unruly offices and cluttered maintenance storage spaces. That takes a silent toll on employee morale, and it sends a negative message to tenants too.
Scientifically speaking, clutter causes stress because it is too stimulating to our brains—it sends a signal that our work is never done and creates guilt, anxiety, and the feeling of being overwhelmed. It might sound like a touchy-feely subject, but the truth is that happy, unstressed workers are more productive. So, if you want a relatively easy and inexpensive way to boost productivity and morale, try decluttering. Here are two simple tips to help.
Tip 1: Go paperless.
According to Agency Sales Magazine, most people never use or look at 80% of the papers and information they keep. Chances are, your tenants are storing their rental paperwork in a drawer somewhere out of sight and out of mind. If they ever need to reference it, they might not be able to locate it, and will need to ask you for a duplicate copy. And all of those paper notices? They're probably going straight from your tenants' doors and mailboxes into the trash.
Now consider the paperwork that you keep in your office. According to the EPA, the average office worker consumes more than 10,000 pieces of paper every year. If your firm has ten employees, costs multiply to the point where paper could cost you as much as $10,000 per year! Even if you've found ways to conserve paper, storing it comes at a cost. Consider the amount you charge for a rental in terms of the square foot per month price. Now think about how many square feet of space you're currently using to store paperwork. It adds up over time.
If you're still using paper, now is the time to shift to more modern paperless systems––you'll lessen your clutter and have a more convenient and seamless integration that will save enormous amounts of time and space across all of your properties.
Try these paper alternatives:
- Say goodbye to paper receipts: Wave is a free app that lets employees snap a photo of their expense-ready receipts to scan, file, and organize them for reimbursement.
- Take control of your calendar: ScheduleOnce and Calendly are apps with free versions that allow you to keep track of your meetings and prospective tenant appointments without needing a paper calendar. They integrate with your usual calendar apps (Google calendar, Outlook, iCloud, etc) so you can get mobile reminders, but they both take scheduling a step further: you can post a link on your website for prospective tenants to book you for a showing, and the appointment automatically shows up on your calendar.
- Track time anywhere: Clockify is a free app that lets your hourly employees keep track of their hours, no matter where they are on the job. With options for different employee rates and jobs, you can easily stay on top of multiple jobs and employee hours with helpful visualizations that let you see how much each employee has earned. To track hours, employees download the app and then just clock in and out on their phones. If they forget, you can adjust the record manually after the fact.
- Publish brochures online: For upscale properties where printed advertising material is expected, turn your booklets into online brochures for free. The online publishing platform issuu lets you upload a pdf and transform it into an interactive online brochure that is optimized for mobile. After uploading your materials, simply email prospective tenants a link and they'll be able to browse your brochure in a paperless, upscale environment that lets them know your property is ready for the 21st century.
Tip 2: Establish a clutter-free zone.
Take a look around your office. Does it look as polished and clutter-free as it could? View it through the lens of a property you'd show to a prospective tenant. Is it rent-ready? Chances are, the daily life of property management has it looking a bit more weathered. Spring is the perfect time to take charge of your clutter and organize your space. A few smart accessories can go a long way:
- Cable concealers can be used to hide and organize computer cables, phone chargers, extension cords, and more. Organizing your cables isn't just a feel-good exercise, it can also help prevent employee injury and give your office a more polished look that appeals to prospective tenants. Purchase the paintable variety and give your entire area a new coat of paint to keep it looking as fresh as it did on day one.
- Under-the-shelf storage baskets can help you reclaim your desk and keep clutter out of site. Use them to store tissues, paperwork, keys, or snacks.
- Hanging shoe racks have pockets that are the perfect size for holding spray cans, plastic bottles, brushes, or paint roller covers. This can be a useful solution for small storage closets.
- Dry erase boards can be invaluable tools for organizing ever-changing to-do lists. Consider hanging one in the office area and another in the maintenance supply area. Attach dry erase markers and erasers to the boards using velcro so that they're always within easy reach.
Keeping your property management work environment clean and decluttered can help make sure things run smoothly. When everyone knows where everything is, downtime is eliminated and tenant requests are addressed more quickly. The more organized you are now, the more prepared you will be for unpredictable situations that arise in the future.