Do you ever look around your office and think everything feels tired, stale, and everyone’s attitude is poor? Documents are disorganized, desks are messy, and there is poor or confrontational interaction with clients. What action do you take?
Perhaps it’s time to spring clean your property management house!
While growing up, it was an absolute must in my mothers’ and grandmothers’ house that there be a thorough “spring clean” of the entire house. The holidays were over and it was spring. There was no doubt that this chore was going to happen. Of course, this made me groan but when it was finished everyone felt so much better and happier.
Set up a spring cleaning in your office and be amazed at what can happen. There are some simple steps to make this whole process easier for both you and your team. Perhaps you don’t have a team – this is also a very productive step for a one-man office. Since I work in a one-man office with a virtual support team, I can attest to the benefits of a spring cleaning.
Start with observation
You can’t complete this task properly unless you know what is causing a poor atmosphere. Start by simply observing everything and everyone for several days.
- When you walk in the door, does the office look tired and worn out? If so, ask yourself why. Is it dirty walls or furniture? Is it messy stacks of documentation or supplies due to a lack of proper filing or storage? Are simple repairs needed? Make a list so you can figure out a budget for a reasonable fix.
- What is your team’s efficiency level? Are they interacting well? Is personal activity, such as cell phone use, interfering with productivity? Do they need training or an organized activity to change their performance?
- How is everyone interacting with clientele? Their attitude will definitely impact clientele who call or enter the office. This can affect the success of your business if left unchecked.
Review your equipment, documentation, and systems
Everyone works better if they have equipment that works properly, such as computers, copy machine, desk chairs, and more. Perhaps there is outdated documentation that simply creates unnecessary work causing poor morale or a lack of a form or system that would make life easier. Where personnel can relax may need some help, such as a revamping the break area or cleaning out an abused refrigerator.
Meet with everyone, discuss your findings, and ask for THEIR feedback
A spring cleaning CAN be fun and SHOULD benefit everyone. However, success will depend on their support. Share your observations and your desire to improve everyone’s work conditions (including yours). Ask how they feel the office is working and what would make them feel better. It is important to “guide” this meeting so that you achieve your goals without creating unrealistic expectations. They need to understand that while you want to improve conditions, it must meet the company budget and that even small improvements can make a difference.
Make the plan for the spring clean
It won’t happen without an organized plan. After everyone identifies what needs to change or update, set aside a day for spring cleaning that works with everyone’s schedule and is not right in the middle of heavy days, such as rent collection. Friday’s are often a good choice. Make it a casual dress day and have responsibilities assigned to everyone in advance. Require everyone to plan their schedule and appointments around this day. Toss out old documents and trash. Make the break and conference areas sparkle. Have everyone declutter and organize their work space. Touch up paint, clean, and/or redecorate the reception area. There is a lot you can do to improve the office on a reasonable budget and some elbow grease.
Observe the results and continue with positive steps
Be there to see how people feel when they walk back into an organized clean environment. Hold an office meeting with everyone a few days later to see how they feel about the process. Just don’t stop here.
Don’t stop here…
Keep working on positive efforts toward maintaining the office with your team or just for yourself. If necessary, have training on interacting with clients, plan more positive documentation, and discuss any new possible hardware or software upgrades. What is important is to emphasize how their environment affects everyone’s work and attitude.
Jean Storms, MPM® is the founder/author of LandlordSource and has been a NARPM® member since January 1993.
Disclaimer: LandlordSource does not represent the article content in this website as legal advice. It is shared information only and up to the reader to use this information responsibly, seeking legal advice as necessary to their business.