Recently, the property management industry has seen a significant turnover of employees. Some of this turnover can be attributed to the Boomer generation reaching retirement age. But I believe that the other reason we are seeing large numbers of people leave the industry, is stress.
Good stress – like the kind you have when you’re training your body, or working towards a goal – can lead to growth. Bad stress – the chronic kind that leaves you feeling depleted and demoralized at the end of the day – can sink you, and lead to people dropping out of the workforce.
I’m not sure why society in general seems to be feeling more stress, worry, and anger – theories abound. I do know, however, that while stress is inevitable, how you handle it, is not.
When we tense up, our performance gets worse
So often, when we enter a period of stress, the first things to disappear are our ability to stay grounded and see the big picture, and the self-care habits that give us resilience and strength. I’ll illustrate with a story.
Several years ago, I took a telemark skiing lesson at Silver Star Mountain. My telemark skills were average at best, and I thought a lesson or two would improve my overall performance. Whenever I was on difficult terrain or going too fast I tensed up, which affected my performance negatively.
During the lesson, my instructor informed me that I was “shopping for turns”. What he meant, was that I was looking for the easy way down the mountain and, as a result, I was looking down at the terrain immediately in front of me, and losing sight of where I was going and what I wanted to accomplish.
His advice was to adjust my stance. When I questioned what he meant by that, he said I needed to focus further down the mountain – where I ultimately wanted to end up. He told me to keep my knees slightly bent to absorb the bumps and moguls, keep my shoulders square to the hill, and keep my arms down and relaxed to lower my centre of gravity and give me better balance. If I tensed up, I would be more likely to fall.
I didn’t just absorb his advice for skiing, I absorbed it for life. When one of my property managers tells me they feel stressed-out, I ask them about their stance. Can they find a way to relax, lean into the work and ride it out, with an eye on the final destination – instead of feeling overwhelmed by the challenges immediately in front of them?
Can they find a way to regain a sense of control over their situation – without tensing up – that will help them manage the pressure? Our business, like so many others, has peak periods of intense work, and finding a healthy way to get through them is paramount for career longevity.
Some basic self-care can bolster your resilience and strength
I’ve also begun to stress the importance of self-care, which is the foundation of every strong stance. Whenever my stress levels are rising, I run through a basic checklist:
Am I sleeping well? Are you ensuring that you get enough hours of sleep each night? We live in a sleep-deprived culture, and the alarm (no pun intended) is being sounded. The quality of your sleep can affect how well you think, react, work, learn, and get along with others. Simple changes such as switching off your iPad or phone – and the blue light that emanates from them – at least one hour before you go to bed can result in a better sleep.
Am I eating well? Are you eating a nutritious and well-balanced diet? It is well known that a high sugar diet can negatively affect your decision-making – and eating a proper breakfast goes a long way to starting the day right.
Am I exercising? Are you making sure that you get enough exercise every day – even if it’s just a short walk?
Am I staying connected? Spending time with friends and family on a regular basis will help you to remain grounded and calm. Talk to your friends – they don’t have to be able to fix your stress, they simply need to be good listeners.
Transpacific takes the stress out of property management for owners and investors. To see how we can help, please give us a call at 604 873 8591.