Strata managers ready to innovate and automate communications and workflows most likely to thrive in busy job, says new survey

The strata manager role requires a unique mix of people and process skills according to new ‘Voice of the Strata Manager’ national research. It shows getting out and about for site inspections is rated one of the most enjoyable aspects of the job, right up there with doing accounts, workflows and trust work.

An optimistic streak runs through the research from MRI Software, a real estate technology solutions firm with strong industry credentials. The report indicates that despite dealing with difficult behaviour from owners and 50+ hour work weeks, strata managers are confident about the future of their jobs and the industry at large: 76% regard their job as secure, and an impressive 85% intend to remain in strata management.

The industry shift toward embracing flexible and part-time work practices to allow staff to manage work-life balance and reduce work travel is deeply appreciated: 54% of those surveyed work remotely up to three days a week.

At the same time, the job is clearly demanding. MRI’s ‘Voice of the Strata Manager’ reports nearly 60% of strata professionals work more than the 38-hour week prescribed by Australia’s National Employment Standards – with one in five (19%) working 51 or more hours per week.

An alarming number identify dealing with challenging and angry owners or tenants as one of the most difficult aspects of the job – likely contributing to 43% struggling with their mental health.

Given the research indicates communicating with building owners takes up most time with 20% saying it accounts for up to 80% of their day, and a further 33% saying it requires up to 60% of their attention – it seems a combination of technology innovation, and professional support might help ensure the long term wellbeing and productivity of the profession.

More technology reduces stress and workload

Given the intensely long hours most strata managers work it is heartening to see technology starting to be embraced. In fact, most strata professionals seem keen to adopt technology that improves workflows, with 50% having upgraded their software in the past two years or less.

Analysis by PropTech Association Australia’s President Kylie Davis on the Voice of the Strata Manager 2023 data findings indicates strata managers are likely to see more opportunities than problems when it comes to using new online platforms, automation, and changing work practices, including outsourcing and flexibility.

An opportunity clearly exists to further relieve time and workload pressure using Property Technology (PropTech) solutions designed specifically for strata management.

The reality is that modern PropTech provides an easily accessible way to significantly reduce the more mundane and stress-inducing elements of the role, while improving the experience of investors, owners and tenants.

MRI Software clients talk about reducing their time spent on daily tasks with streamlined workflows covering every aspect of strata and body corporate management. They bulk generate levy notices and invoices, for example, and power through accounting with automated electronic banking, quick journaling, and simplified bank reconciliations.

Technology can also play a part reducing the toll that dealing with ‘challenging and angry owners or tenants’ must take on the wellbeing of strata professionals. Automating some communications and improving access to real-time information via digital portals for example, provides transparency and personalised information without direct first-line contact.

Looking ahead, with more apartments and strata lots being added to Australia’s built eco-system every year it’s easy to see why the diverse and demanding role of the strata manager will continue to be in high demand.

Beyond technology solutions and partnership, MRI aims to work with industry partners to raise empathy and respect for the indispensable role of strata managers. The reality of handling high-demand and high-value stakeholders and properties in a fast-growing sector that now includes build-to-rent property developments warrants proactive systemic support and acknowledgement.

The premise of the ‘Voice of the Strata Manager’ report is that strata management is a role of growing importance, value and influence in the Australian property landscape. Clearly, strata managers are responsible not just for managing common property, maintenance, compliance and safety of Australia’s residences, but supporting vibrant communities within the buildings and complexes they manage.

The full MRI Voice of the Strata Manager 2023 report with more detailed analysis is available for download here.

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