‘Tis the season to step up your property management game.
The ethos we push at Jackson Sims is the idea of recruiting team members who go above and beyond in their positions. And there can’t be any time in the year where it is more important and meaningful to go above and beyond for people. (For that matter, there can’t be many more years where it’s more important to go above and beyond, either…).
So with that in mind, we’ve come up with six ways that property managers can bring a bit of festive cheer to the people in their care.
The right thing to do
Before we engage in an examination of nice things to do for Christmas, it is important to give a brief consideration to whether it is the place of a business to involve itself in an event – namely, Christmas - that carries with it an inherent religious and cultural focus. In the UK, Christmas is celebrated by a large cross-section of people – and whilst Christian in origin, it has developed a strong secular importance in society. Many people of other faiths also enjoy it for exactly this reason – treating it as an event that straddles divisions and unites communities in a spirit of happiness, generosity and togetherness.
But, it is important to remember that Christmas is not a universal event, and those that do not celebrate it may resent its encroachment on parts of their life where they have not sought it; which may include their living environment.
This is not to say that property managers should ‘be a grinch’ about Christmas and avoid acknowledgement of its significance as a British tradition. But cultural sensitivity is an increasingly important part of being a good manager, not to mention a good member of the community in general. So before launching into a full-on Santa’s Grotto experience complete with nativity and carols, take a moment to consider whether it is appropriate for your residents, and for your position as manager. Perhaps consider – if you do want to go ahead with something to mark the Christmas season – whether you also give adequate recognition to other cultural and religious celebrations throughout the year.
Right, with the ‘deep and meaningful’ stuff out of the way, now to the fun bit: how can you bring some winter warmth to the property/properties you manage?
Simply checking in
It’s easy to think of Christmas as a time of frivolity, happiness, family and friends. But precisely because that is the stereotype, that can make it all the more lonely for those who are alone or distanced from their loves ones. This can be particularly true for certain types of residence; perhaps the demographic that occupies your site is heavily composed of young professionals, or of older people: both groups that may be prone to isolation in the winter season.
A Christmas card – not a corporate, marketing message one, but something that feels personal – can make all the difference, especially if it provides an avenue for them to reach out if they are in need. That might not necessarily be to you as a company or as an individual; make sure you’re well versed in sources that can provide support to people in need over Christmas, so that you can help by redirecting them to the most helpful channel.
Deck the Halls
This is the obvious one really – Christmas decorations! It can be a difficult line to tread; indulgent and fun, but not gaudy. The public spaces of any shared property are at once a representation of the business owner or property management company, but at the same time conceptually an extension of each resident’s own space. Probably better to go stylish and understated; but don’t skimp, nobody likes a sad, droopy tree.
Whatever you do, just don’t put any tinsel up, eh?
A Christmas Party
OK, OK, not this year, we know. And for goodness sake don’t try to provide a Zoom-based alternative for your block instead – we’re all zoomed out and Christmas parties with ‘at-arms-length’ acquaintances (which is what apartment neighbours tend to be) really only work with the social lubricants of food, drink, a bit of music and physical proximity. But this year too shall pass, so think of all the fun you can have planning for next year…
A community collaboration
‘Tis the season of giving, after all. If you have a common lobby, maybe set up a collection box for food that can be donated to a shelter on Christmas day, or have people place gifts under the tree to be donated to less-fortunate children. You could also host an initiative where residents ‘buy’ a bauble for the tree, with the money donated to charity. All of these initiatives help people to get involved in the spirit of the building community, whilst also contributing to the wider community outside.
Bringing out the competitive side
A Christmas competition always gets the spirits up. Best decorated Christmas cookie? Colouring competition? Tik-tok production? Christmas poem? Running a competition where results are uploaded to a common social media group has the added benefit of drawing people to your social media channels, which itself will carry marketing gains throughout the year. Competitions are particularly good if you have a residence that has a high percentage of families in it; but do not underestimate the childish enthusiasm of fully-grown adults when there is both Christmas pride and a decent prize on the line.
Some practical pointers
There’s actually a lot of ‘serious’ things you need to be considering in preparation for Christmas too.
First and foremost, make sure you’ve adequately communicated any changes in office operating hours, and figured out a policy for dealing with emergency situations that arise during holiday time.
Indeed, there are many ways you need to get ahead of the game administration-wise for Christmas. Cash-flow situations tend to change around this time, both for your tenants and suppliers: make sure you take this into consideration when dealing with accounts. It’s been a tough year for all; anything you can do to take the pressure off residents in relation to rent payments will of course be hugely appreciated.
Schedule everything you can ahead of time; particularly social media, if you’re engaging in this (and if you aren’t, why not!?). When you get back to work in January a lot will have piled up, so anything you can sort out preemptively will take a load off your mind; are you able to schedule inspection planning or preventative maintenance ahead of time, or find ways to automate/digitise tasks?
Finally, consider your security protocols, and maybe send out a guidance document to residents; Christmas is – sadly – a time of the year that experiences the highest crime rates.
Whatever you choose to do in your role as property managers over the Christmas season, we here at Jackson Sims wish you all the best. A very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Jackson Sims Recruitment is a property management recruitment company operating in London and the UK. Should you be a candidate or client working in property management we have a multitude of recruitment services they can be tailored to you. Please visit www.JacksonSimsRecruitment.com for more information.