Capacity Stress in Property Management


Every Rent Roll Business and every person inside that business has a capacity level. It can be defined as the highest sustainable output rate given the current resources and conditions. When thinking about the capacity in the workplace, and in particular a Property Management business, it can be likened to a glass of water. The higher the level of water in the glass, the less space that person or business has to absorb additional properties. As the glass fills, it is nearing capacity.

We visit many Rent Roll businesses who are suffering from ‘capacity stress’. This is the feeling that arises as individuals believe they are reaching the level of ‘I cannot take on any more properties’. It seems that at this point the level of water in their glass is too high. There are two ways to reduce this level of water. One is to get an additional glass – that is hire more people, the other is to make the existing glass fit more in it.

That might seem strange, but it can be done by working out how to structure the business more efficiently. In short, we see a lot of evidence that the glass size is relative to how efficiently a business is structured and the conditions which exist within the business. With expert guidance, a businesses is able to take a glass that is approaching capacity and stretch it to increase productivity, thus minimising the ‘Capacity Stress’ that was previously evident. The result is that the person feels that there is more space between where they are operating and their limit – they have effectively moved into a bigger glass.

Historically, ‘capacity stress’ has been managed by splitting the Rent Roll up and getting another glass or hiring another staff member. This can often be a poor model to use. If you sit and watch a Property Management Team work, you’ll notice that individuals have strengths and weaknesses in their skill sets. Weaknesses are very hard to fix whereas strengths can be embraced and developed. In addition, there is often more than one person working on the same. Each of these can be signs of unnecessary inefficiencies which leads to ‘Capacity Stress’.

This raises an interesting question…. how can we increase efficiency to take on more properties (reducing the level of water in the glass) without adding more staff (or adding more glasses)?

At Real Estate Dynamics we have developed a new model for staffing a Property Management business. It recognises 4 different quadrants of work within the business, each requiring different skill sets and strengths. There are some interesting facts about these quadrants. When individuals work in more than one quadrant in any given period, their efficiency and therefore productivity drops. When individuals are required to work in multiple quadrants simultaneously (as in many offices) their job satisfaction and motivation suffers. Individuals experience more workplace stress when they are required to constantly switch from one quadrant to another.

Rent Roll Businesses which have clearly defined their 4 Quadrants find that they can easily address these issues. Beyond that, the whole recruitment landscape suddenly changes for these businesses. Suddenly they have a clearly defined list of skills they are seeing in an employee and can recruit exactly to that skill set. Further to that they are able to better articulate the elements of each role and further drill down into the micro job descriptions.

Once the 4 quadrants are synchronised and the right people are in these quadrants, capacity stress is virtually non-existent and everyone’s capacity (water in their glass) is reduced – which means that productivity is improved, job satisfaction is improved, and they can take on more properties. One more problem solved in the world of Property Management.