Appreciative of a recent opportunity to sit down and chat with Jackie Riley of Riley Wellness Consulting about our efforts towards creating a healthy workplace environment amidst the sometimes uncertain chaos of property management.
Can Small Companies Influence Health? Absolutely!
Trust me, in the pursuit of healthy workplace indicators, it can be a slippery slope if we begin to hone in on the toxic, the trials, and the downfalls in organizations. As humans, we come with an unfortunate default negativity bias and it takes some practice and intention to make sure the positive is emphasized in the stories we share about where we work. Let’s keep the attention on Healthy Workplaces positive!
This positive mindset was made easy when I recently visited a business where a commitment to workplace health is felt as soon as you open the door.
Welcome to MCRS Property Management in Muskoka.
When clients walk into the light and bright office space of MCRS they’re instantly taken in by a hospitable, light, and comfortable atmosphere. The first member of the team that clients may meet is Cheddar. An attention-holding Corgi, Cheddar met me heartily while 16-year old High School Co-op student, Rebecca Peereboom, smiled graciously to complete the welcome.
My appointment was to speak with Kirsten Dale, CMRAO Licensed Condominium Property Manager at MCRS. As we settled into the chrome and glass appointed boardroom complete with Muskoka sourced live edged table, the feeling of workplace calm and camaraderie was palpable.
With pets at work, Cheddar and Spike (a senior rescue Shorkie) are mascots for workplace healthy living. Kirsten shared with me that the goal of MCRS Property Management, since its reincarnation by respected leader Debbie Dale in 2013 (who started offering property management in the area in the 1980s) is to ensure that the life-work balance of the whole team is honoured.
One of the most effective ways that Kirsten and her team ensure balance is what she agreed could be called shared leadership. The demanding workload of property management, along with the challenges that can arise any time of day or night, are shared amongst the employees and there is an “unwritten rule” of who deals with which issues based on individual expertise.
Appreciation (gratitude) and recognition (publically or privately shining a light on individual achievement or milestones) is central to the culture at MCRS. Kirsten was quick to point out that the “superstar” of the organization was Stephanie, who greets you at the front desk and assists in the workplace learning experience for co-op students. She’s “an integral part of keeping things going” said Kirsten who recounts that property emergencies after midnight mean that the organization counts on Steph’s reliability and dependability for 9 am office openings. “There’s not a lot of sleep some nights,” chuckled Dale. She went on to say that the benefit of their small intimate team means that “We all have confidence in each other. We know that the follow through is there…” Trust is central to this healthy workplace.
Health is an ensured outcome when teams trust one another to do what’s right and invest in the physical environment where they spend the majority of each day.
The newly designed MCRS offices beam and have workplace wellness in mind. The Huntsville facility, a new location and renovation in 2018, sparkles with Muskoka Glass installations (another family-owned operation), which contributes to efficient physical workflow. The workspace affords privacy and smart traffic flow while keeping a warm Muskoka feel. The air is clean and fresh, healthy snacks and filtered water are on offer in the staff kitchen, and pets at work are therapeutic and comforting during the times that try workplace mental health. “Dogs force you to take a break from your desk – they need it and so do we.” admits Dale.
As a commitment to workplace wellness, holidays are ensured and balanced between the small team and the entire office shuts down for a week and a half during the winter holiday season. The team makes a commitment to know each other and be known – they genuinely support each other. Says Dale, “we’re not just here to work.” Comments like “do you want to talk about it?” create a psychologically safe and conducive environment. Kirsten was quick to point out, the notion of “leaving it (life stressors) at the door works to some extent but you can’t stifle yourself or your inner emotions.”
In the end, with MCRS Property Management the commitment to healthy workplace measures aren’t simply felt by the staff. With award-winning services in condo and rental management, MCRS clients are winners as well finding service that is dependable, professional and responsive.
As we readied for my exit, I felt inspired (as I often do by healthy Muskoka businesses) and everyone within earshot could hear Kirsten Dale saying, “We really try to balance things and that’s key.”
It most certainly is, MCRS, it most certainly is.
About MCRS: MCRS Property Management is a professional property management company offering licensed condominium and rental property management throughout Muskoka, Orillia and Parry Sound. To find out more, visit: www.mymcrs.com)