5 ways to get your letting agency's holiday handovers right
It's the summer holiday season - so how can your estate and letting agency manage holiday handovers in the best way to alleviate stress for everyone?
"Holiday periods put a huge pressure on a business - it is so important for everyone to complete a proper handover of their work, both in person and via their CRM," says Derrick Maguire, Director at Anthony Martin Franchising.
High levels of post-pandemic burnout are spurring people to leave their current jobs and re-evaluate their career priorities too, which means making sure your staff get the most out of their holidays is more important than ever - so here are 6 steps to help your agency get holiday handovers right.
1. Have a clear holiday policy in place
You firstly need to ensure that your agency has a clear holiday policy, so your team understands the process.
You'll need to remind them to give you plenty of notice to avoid disappointment and let them know that the requests may have to be on a first come, first served basis, to make sure there are enough team members around to keep the business running efficiently.
2. Hold regular meetings in the holiday build up
You should include individual 1:1 sessions and team meetings as part of your business processes, so everyone can check in on what's going on in the business, how each team and individual is performing, and what they're currently working on.
"Communication is a gift that seems to elude many people," says Derrick. "It's vital to complete the notes sections on CRM systems - even copying members of staff in emails is sometimes missed. A manager needs to oversee this, as well as assist where necessary. Spreading the workload is the key."
For management, having regular check-ins with your staff will help ensure that they're not already overloaded with work. Using these meetings to cover any red, amber, and green flags in their workload and day-to-day tasks will help avoid an information dump of everything they are working on the day before their annual leave.
And don't forget any suppliers and clients that need to know that their normal point of contact won't be available for a couple of weeks too.
3. Remember your temporary and weekend staff
You may consider hiring temporary or weekend staff to handle the increased workload in the summer. When you're hiring, be brutally honest in the interviews.
Make sure they know how busy it's going to be, so they know what to expect. You don't want to be in a position where you have to rehire when everyone's already under pressure.
Although they won't be with you for long, it's then important to make sure you keep them happy to motivate them to do their jobs in the best way.
Simple things such as ensuring you provide them with drinks when out on viewings every day can make them feel valued as members of the team. Encourage them to join in with any team social events too.
4. Consider suppliers that can help manage the process for you
Are there parts in the handover process that are always a sticking point and difficult to manage? Rent collection for example - does everything stall if one person goes on holiday? This could be an indication that a new supplier or tech solution is required.
Having the right supplier in place should make managing your holidays much easier. It will help give everyone visibility and ensure some of the manual tasks are automated - and easier for everyone.
"If someone rings our office and asks for information, they'll nearly always get an answer because anyone in our team can see the latest on that particular tenancy," says Luke Thirkettle, Director at Stratfords Residential Sales and Lettings.
"Having that visibility across any of the systems we've got, whether it's the CRM software or Goodlord - we can see the updates in real time, to answer the questions that come our way."
5. Manage the return to the office
When your staff get back from holiday, you'll need to organise a reverse handover to get them back up to speed.
If you set up the right processes before they went so that they could fully switch off while they were on holiday and then pick up where they left off, this should be a smooth transition.
Your team member can jump straight back into work, feeling refreshed - and more likely to stick around at your agency for the long haul during the great resignation.