As a principal, one of the things that drove me around the bend was coming into the office every morning only to find out a staff member was sick, or they had a sick child they needed to care for, or could not be at work for some reason or another. The calls, texts or emails to say they couldn’t make it always filled me with dread.
Now they were usually fair and legitimate reasons, but it always seemed to happen on the day when you needed them the most. Such as when there had been a storm and you knew there would be so many maintenance issues with property management, or when you had a number of settlements happening that day or you had lots of listing appointments.
When I ran a large team someone was off literally every single day. There was just no way we could get the work done and, in some circumstances, I was left to put out the fires or plug the hole myself. Does this sound familiar?
Well it’s not just you or me in this situation. We all face this problem, and if your business is running thin on resources and staff this is going to be a never-ending cycle for you.
However there are ways to prevent this awful, frustrating problem and it’s with systems.
Everyone knows everyone else’s business
Firstly, you need to make sure that the office is systemised so that everyone can do anyone’s job. That way if someone calls in sick there is someone else in the office that can just pick up where they left off and get the work done.
But what about doing their own job you ask? Part of the systems within the office will give you the ability to prioritise workloads so that you are able to move people around in the business to make sure you are getting the most important and urgent work done first and then staff can go back to doing some of the less urgent work so that things can be managed accordingly. In fact if your systems are there you could even get a temp or virtual assistant to just follow the dots and get on with things.
Get in the know
One of the biggest reasons for breakdowns in production is owners and other staff do not know how to do other staff members jobs – then when someone is sick or goes on leave things fall apart and pile up waiting for them to come back. And meanwhile you have unhappy clients who are wondering what progress is being made on their sale or investment.
So where to start – step one is with job descriptions: find out what your team does (and should be doing), from the receptionist to PAs to the agents themselves. That way everybody will know who is responsible for what.
Then you can add in ideal working weeks, customer relationship management systems and easy training systems and there will be no reason why your business should have breakdowns in production when someone can’t be in the office.
Cover all bases
You need to be realistic with your staffing resources. As a business owner I always made sure that we had at least a half a person extra to call upon if someone couldn’t come to work. If you are running at maximum stretch due to people calling in sick or being on holidays you are always going to be a half or whole person short. And if you have systems in place such as job descriptions and workload organisation, that half a person can easily step into the breach and make sure things run smoothly.
If you want to know more about systems and how you can implement them in your office, register now for my free upcoming seminar How to BOOM in a Disruptive Decade. You’ll never need to worry about staff being away again.