As the coronavirus continues to spread across the world, working from home has become the new reality. The home is a very different environment compared to the office for most. While it certainly is a good way to prevent further spread of the pandemic, it may be a challenge for many in terms of productivity due to factors such as juggling children being at home among others. Having said that, there are many benefits to productivity if done correctly and the same principle applies to those in the condo management industry. In this post, we explore 5 ways for property managers to be successful while working from home.
In order to efficiently overcome challenges such as struggling with loneliness, managing time, and communication, here are 5 strategies to create an optimal work environment at home.
1. Establish a dedicated workspace at home
Start by designating a space specifically for work. The optimal structure would be an area that is physically separate from the rest of the home such as another room. In the end, what matters most is how you feel in a certain setting as long as you find yourself mentally prepared to work - if that is the kitchen, that is totally fine too. Another important factor is that your workspace be quiet and free of distractions.
Beyond that, there are many ways to create a good experience at home by having a stimulating environment such as getting plenty of light, photos of happy times and so on. The objective is to feel comfortable without being distracted.
2. Avoid feelings of isolation
The abrupt orders to stay at home and given the nature of the reason for working from home, some may feel a sense of isolation. If you're used to working with others and dealing with colleagues or customers, it can be quite a big change to be alone all day long. Adding to this is the fact that no one yet knows how long the lockdown will last for the majority of those working from home.
Prolonged isolation can adversely impact morale and productivity. That is why it is helpful to organize virtual social parties or happy hour to simply connect with colleagues. It's a great way to understand that while you are isolated physically, that you are not alone and that we're all in it together.
3. Use technology and cloud-based tools (like Condo Manager Live)
Communication is critical in any work environment, but given that we're now working from home, it is all the more vital. There should be a proactive and concerted effort by all to increase daily communication to keep the team informed on what is going on. Ideally this should be done beyond just email but also by scheduling daily phone calls or video conferences.
That means working from home requires an increased reliance on technology, and in some cases, the introduction of new technology. There are very useful tools out there that do a great job with video call, such as Zoom or Skype. Another popular type of app are communications apps such as Microsoft Teams or Slack. This allows for instant communication and can greatly reduce time spent communicating.
Beyond communication tools, there are software tools out there for any industry today. The condo management world is no exception. On our end, we have made it so that condo management can be done totally remotely with our offering: Condo Manager Live. This version is essentially a cloud-based version of Condo Manager. That means you can access all of your residents' information, accounting information and more from anywhere with simply a computer with internet connection. This is made possible with multiple redundancies, off-site backups and a data centre with high security. If you would like more info, feel free to contact us and get a free demo.
4. Take breaks
When working alone at home, it is easy to get tunnel vision, to either get too zoned in or to get distracted. It is therefore important to schedule breaks and have them short and spaced out across the day. Some good examples of breaks in order to recharge for increased productivity include going for a walk, doing some chores, or making coffee.
Sitting in front of your computer all day can lead one to fall into the trap of getting distracted, reading articles or scrolling through social media. It's also important to remember that breaks are a part of a normal work day regardless of where you're situated. In the work at home scenario, we have to make a bit more of an effort to take breaks because we don’t have the same kind of natural opportunities as we do in the workplace.
5. Make a schedule
It’s especially important to maintain a schedule while working from home. When we're working from the office, there typically is more structure. That structure becomes more grey when working from home since the home does not subconsciously represent a work place for property managers. To maintain a certain type of structure, one advice would be to start and end your workday at the same time you typically work in order to maintain a normal work rhythm. Routine is key, but now that the setting has changed, it is important to reinforce that routine on a daily basis.
We at Condo Manager have extensive experience with property managers working from home. We would be more than happy to share our experiences with you. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to reach out to us.