Property management is one business that can’t completely shut down during the holidays. Residents will always have questions and issues arise that require immediate attention. While your team deserves to take time off to spend with friends and family, it’s important that you put together a proper out of office (OOO) plan to ensure residents will still be taken care of, no matter how many employees are out. Here are four tips to help you create an OOO plan for the holidays.
While your team has probably already put in PTO requests, it’s important that you organize an OOO calendar so everyone knows who will be out and when they’ll be gone. Whether it’s done digitally or on a whiteboard, have a central location that displays who will be out every day of December and early January.
If there’s a week that several people will be out, like Christmas for example, make sure that team members who are in the office understand the additional tasks they’ll be responsible for. For example, if one of your Portfolio Managers requests to take the entire week of Christmas off, make sure their properties are evenly distributed among the Portfolio Managers who are in the office that week. By dividing their workload, you’ll enable that person to take a distraction-free, real vacation, while not overloading the rest of your team.
People can be a bit unreliable this time of year, so it’s good to have a backup team you can rely on in case of emergencies. Start compiling a list of backup maintenance crews and handymen that you can call in case your main crew is busy or unreachable. Incentivize employees to volunteer to be on an on-call list for resident emergencies on days such as Christmas Eve, Christmas, and New Year’s. For the few employees who are in the office, consider ordering lunch or doing something fun to thank them for working undesirable shifts.
It’s important that you overcommunicate to residents about holiday hours and emergency contacts. If another Portfolio Manager will be handling management duties for a specific community the week of Christmas, make sure the residents know. If there are special emergency contacts during the holidays, make sure your residents are aware of this. Send emails, post digital bulletins, send out text messages, hang signs around the community, and even consider distributing door hangers or fliers so that every single resident is aware of who will be out, holiday hours, who they should contact in case of emergency, and how they should get in contact with that person.
Within your communications to residents, it’s a good idea to remind them to use your community management tool (i.e. FRONTSTEPS) to submit all work orders, questions, and amenity bookings. Remind them that with people being out of the office during the holidays, this is the one place they can be sure that their requests will be properly submitted and taken care of, compared to leaving voicemails or sending emails to people who may be out.
Letting residents know they’ll still be taken care of during the holiday season is a great way to provide an exceptional resident experience. Looking for additional tips? Get your copy of our free six-step guide!