Solving Productivity Issues For a Short-Staffed Maintenance Team

Being understaffed is one of the most difficult issues employers are facing today. As we covered in our recent article, “Why is Hiring Hard Right Now,” industries across the United States are struggling to find suitable hires. The multifamily industry is no different, especially when it comes to maintenance teams.

When you’re understaffed, your team members are scrambling around to make sure that all of the tasks are being taken care of. Oftentimes, this includes completing tasks that may not be in your employees’ job descriptions. Not only does this take their focus away from what they were hired to do, but it can also result in quick burnout. This ultimately causes dips in their performance and poor productivity.

Some common warning signs are stress, missed deadlines, and a decline in quality of work. If you’re seeing some of these behaviors from your staff, then it’s likely that your team is in need of some serious changes.

Solutions to Increase Maintenance Productivity While Short-Staffed

We understand that it’s hard to predict when your team may be short staffed. The pandemic is a perfect example of how life can blindside you in the most unexpected ways. But, it does happen. Though we are in unique times, being understaffed has always been an issue, especially for maintenance teams. From vacations to sicknesses to the unexpected letter of resignation and difficulty finding a replacement, most businesses have felt the sting of being understaffed. Here are some solutions for increasing productivity during these challenging times:

  1. Revise Your Priorities

When you’re short-staffed, not everything is going to get done. Sitting down and evaluating the tasks at hand can help you distinguish which tasks need to be done versus which ones can be done later. This works especially well when you review your tasks regularly. It will help give your team a clearer picture of where your priorities lie, allowing you to adjust your expectations as necessary.

  1. Communication and Team Development

Communication should be a top priority when your team is picking up the slack. Make sure everyone understands how appreciated they are, and encourage open communication. Talk it out when there’s an issue, and allow your team members to give some input. Working together is one of the most effective ways to keep morale and productivity up, especially when it’s positive and encouraging.

  1. Encourage Breaks

When your team is understaffed and employees are trying to keep up, they tend to forget to take care of themselves. Encouraging everyone to take their breaks throughout the day can help avoid the imminent burn out of an overworked team. Everyone needs a mental break and a moment to refresh from time to time, especially in high-stress moments.

Implementing these practices can assist you in making sure your employees are happier and more productive. At this point though, you may be asking yourself how you can best track productivity, especially for your maintenance team? Let’s explore some ideas.

Tracking Maintenance Productivity

Creating and implementing tools to help you track your maintenance productivity may be just what your team has been needing. Developing systematic ways to track your long-term maintenance productivity will help you to stay on track for reaching your business goals. Starting by documenting maintenance actions will help generate the information needed to determine your key performance indicators. This will allow you to reflect on which areas need the most improvement and lead you towards your long-term goals.


Key Performance Indicators (KPI) help by measuring your team’s performance against key objectives. Some of the KPIs that should be implemented when it comes to multifamily maintenance are:

  1. Planned Maintenance Percentage or PMP

A current PMP is essential for tracking the time spent by maintenance staff on anticipated services versus unforeseen issues. The best way to determine this is by measuring the total maintenance hours, then learning which hours were actually spent on scheduled maintenance items.

  1. Response Time

Creating a KPI for response time will help you set your own expectations, as well as setting goals for the team. When you notice a downward trend it is a clear indicator of declining productivity, allowing you to quickly address the issue. In a similar matrix you can track how long a repair takes, offering helpful data for creating your PMPs.

  1. Maintenance Backlog

While it’s not bad to have a maintenance backlog, monitoring how long it takes to complete the tasks given is important. How long it takes your maintenance team members to get through their “to do” list can help determine the productivity of your team. If it normally takes 2 weeks to complete everything but you’re noticing a 4 week trend, you can once again address and correct the issue quickly.

Being Understaffed Is Temporary

Though periods of being understaffed are tough, the good news is they are temporary. You can use these periods to truly bring your team together. It is also a great time to see where the struggles in your processes are so you can address them. Practicing tracking and implementing productivity practices will give you the strength to weather any storm. I mean… we made it through the pandemic, didn’t we?

Feeling the pains of being understaffed? Hire Priority might be the solution you’ve been looking for. With our pre-screening processes and training, we can help your company find it’s next long-term hire

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The Post-Pandemic Labor Force

Living through a pandemic left us with a lot of unknowns for the future. And though none of us really thought things would get back to “normal,” we have all anticipated the day that we could begin moving forward again. As vaccines roll out and mask mandates cease, it’s easy to speculate how things will look going forward, especially within the labor force.

Unemployment Rates

In April 2020, just one month after the initial lockdown order was issued, Texas unemployment rates reached an all time high of 12.9%. Fortunately, as of May 2021, the unemployment rate was reported at 6.5%. It’s safe to say that things are improving, with rates dropping by nearly half in just over a year’s time. Sadly, even with the decreasing unemployment rate, companies are still struggling to find suitable candidates to hire.

We covered a number of reasons for these struggles in our article: “Why is Hiring Hard Right Now?”. One of the biggest hurdles employers are facing is the role that government assistance programs have played. With the federal order increasing unemployment benefits by $300 a week, people have procrastinated their return to work. This has also allowed people the time to reevaluate what is important to them. This will take place even more as companies continue to return to the office.

As many have embraced the remote environments they’ve gotten used to, we’ve also seen a major increase in resignations. This has given employers the opportunity to look at their current structure while creating new ideas to help redevelop their teams. Although federal benefits are not set to expire until September 2021, Texas has opted out of all related programs effective June 26, 2021. The purpose of this decision is to help encourage employees to return to the workforce.

The Push to Have Employees to Return 

The labor shortage has been an ongoing issue during Texas’s phased reopenings. Fortunately, economists do believe this is temporary. As more vaccines roll out and the government aid expires, an increase in the workforce is predicted. Governor Abbot’s decision to terminate these benefits early for Texas has many businesses looking forward to the prospect of rebuilding their teams in the coming months. 

Studies are showing that the number of unemployed is currently almost identical to the number of job openings. It should also be known that many employers are now offering higher salaries to increase their appeal to potential employees. Currently, it has been reported that nearly 45% of job openings pay over $15.50 an hour. Additionally, only 2% are being listed at minimum wage. Though the higher pay may be pushing up inflation and causing a slowdown in America’s recovery, this too is predicted to balance out over time.

A Post-Pandemic Labor Force

It has been a long road to get where we are now, and we still have a ways to go to see where the economy will be. Employers across the state look forward to the anticipated labor force increase that should come with the expiration of the benefits. Unfortunately, it is still too early to fully predict what the labor force will truly look like post-pandemic. The good news is that Texas is making the first move in regards to achieving normalcy. Though there are push backs from those who may not be ready, many believe it is time to encourage people to return to work. 

Hire Priority understands the struggles that this pandemic has brought, and we are here to help as we transition to better days. With our top screening and training programs, we can help your company find the right fit for your new normal. Contact us today to see how we can help!

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Eviction Moratorium Update -Central Texas

Last year, to lessen the impact of COVID-19, landlords across the country were required to cease any and all eviction proceedings. The order, backed by the CDC’s recommendations, went into effect on September 4, 2020. The order is set to expire on July 31, 2021. Though most Texas cities adopted the CDC guidelines, not all areas have been in full agreement. 

Moratorium Order Endings 

Houston is one of the few cities that never put a local moratorium order into place. Even through the thick of the pandemic, they have continued allowing evictions to take place. Despite the Texas Supreme Court issuing its own statewide moratorium, over 30,000 eviction cases have been filed since March 2020. The statewide order was able to slow some proceedings down, but this ended on May 18, 2020. In addition to the conclusion of the statewide order, the Texas Supreme court ceased enforcement of national moratorium as well. Since then, Houston’s eviction numbers have steadily increased with little to no federal involvement.

Order Extension

Austin, on the other hand, passed their own Eviction Moratorium order as part of their March 2020 emergency ordinance. Despite CDC guidelines, the previous extension was set to expire on May 1, 2021. A day prior to it’s expiration, however, Austin Mayor Steve Adler and Travis County Judge Andy Brown, announced an extension through August 1, 2021.

The main reason for this decision was to encourage tenants to seek out rental assistance if needed before lifting the order entirely. Predictions of an overwhelming number of eviction filings once the order expires are a great cause for concern. Last summer alone it was predicted that 30 to 40 million Americans were at risk of being evicted.


Even though the extension was designed to protect the majority of tenants, there are some exceptions. As of June 1, 2021, Travis County court portals opened once again, allowing for some Notice of Evictions to be filed. In order for landlords to file a Notice of Eviction, the tenants must meet the following qualifications:

  • Owe 5 months or more of outstanding rent.
  • Tenants and Landlords must have exhausted* all available assistance remedies.
  • Tenants must pay no more than $2,475.00 each month in rent.
  • Must not be a commercial tenant.

*The order defines “exhausted” as meaning that all applications for all available rental assistance remedies have been denied or pending for more than 45 days.

Rental Eviction Remedies

In light of the Eviction Moratorium orders, several programs have been made available to assist struggling renters, and sometimes even landlords. The city of Austin has provided over $25 million in federal funds for rental assistance alone. Qualifying renters for such assistance programs must meet these requirements:

  • Must have been financially impacted by the pandemic, and/or qualify for unemployment. 
  • Must prove that you are on the verge of homelessness.
  • Must have made less than 80% of the median family income of $78,100 per year (for 2020).

*Immigration status does not come into play for eligibility.

Additional assistance programs include:

City and County officials are encouraging anyone facing eviction that meets the outlined standards to contact the specific agencies for further information on how these programs can help.


Although the Eviction Moratorium has helped many families remain in their homes during the pandemic, it is important to remember that any and all owed rents will still legally be due once the eviction ban has been lifted. This extension is only valid throughout the Austin and Travis County areas but the majority of Texas, including Dallas, anticipates to follow the CDC’s timeline and open up eviction proceedings starting July 31, 2021.

Want to stay in the know? As the leading staffing agency for the Texas multifamily industry, Hire Priority prides themselves on staying up-to-date with the latest legislation, laws, and trends. Contact us now to learn how we can help you.

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How to Increase Your Maintenance Staffs Performance

It is no surprise that over the last 14 months, operations within the multifamily industry have changed. New practices have been implemented. New cleaning standards have been set. And, above all, managers have had to ask their teams to adopt next-level standards. While these changes were necessary, the pressure of keeping properties and residents safe has increased. Adding more responsibility to the essential staff who have continued to keep up day-to-day operations.

Maintenance teams are at the heart of what keeps properties alive. They also carry the heaviest weight brought on by this pandemic. They take care of the systems and aesthetics of your property. They tend to the leaks, the breaks, the wear, and the tears. And, most importantly, they ultimately keep residents happy with their living conditions. 

Maintenance work is not for the weak. One of the greatest of these challenges lies in boosting productivity and performance. How do we increase performance when this issue has been alive and well since long before the pandemic? The answers may not be as complicated as they seem.

Streamlining Procedures

CRM technology is an excellent solution for streamlining your operations, offering endless benefits. Just imagine being able to customize workflows, easily managing your team and their day-to-day tasks. And the best part? This can be done through a contactless approach. From a maintenance standpoint, tracking work orders has never been easier. 

Additionally, reworking your mobile communications will save time and vastly increase efficiency. Having access to scheduled tasks will help your maintenance team stay on track.  They will also have the ability to easily enter notes and submit further requests as needed. Preventative maintenance reminders can also be added, cutting down on both costs and emergency calls. 

Offer Schedule Flexibility

The work environment is one difficulty essential workers have experienced during the pandemic. As others have moved into more flexible and even remote positions, the maintenance staff has not had the same benefit. Studies have shown positive changes in employee morale as the work-life balance has shifted. While remote work isn’t an option for some, flexible benefits can be experienced by all employees.

As mentioned earlier, utilizing new technology-adapted procedures can help tremendously. Giving your maintenance staff a clearer picture of what their day looks like goes a long way. Experienced staff already know how long a given task should take them. Because of this, allowing them the flexibility to schedule their day can make a world of difference. Some employees may prefer starting earlier in the day, focusing on HVAC preventive maintenance. Others may prefer taking a later shift to help cover resident requests. The key is to communicate their needs while balancing what tasks need attention.

Active Listening

No one knows what improvements can be made better than those who are doing the work. Keep an open-door policy to any suggestions or ideas your employees have to offer. Listen to their concerns. Talk about what may not be working and why. Include your maintenance in the decision-making process. Having a voice and the ability to take part in future changes and improvements will open the door to higher performance going forward.

Positive Reinforcement

Mental health has been a hot topic as the world has turned upside down. In this new world, negativity and fear are seen on every corner. You can counteract this by being sure to offer positive feedback for what your team is doing right. Consider offering a reward system for individuals with the highest resident satisfaction. You could even involve the whole team, offering rewards when work orders do not fall behind. Get creative, and do your best to create the most uplifting environment possible. After all, these are the men and women who have the most impact on your communities. 


Your maintenance staff is one of the most important components of your multifamily community. Taking the time to evaluate performance and productivity will have a lasting effect on your business. Clear communications and procedures will be essential for moving forward into these new times and will ultimately increase performance.

Hiring the right fit can be a struggle, even when you’re implementing all the right tactics. Hire Priority understands this and can reduce the stress in your hiring process. We strive to provide you with the right team members for long-term relationships. Want to learn more? Check us out now!

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Being Understaffed Could Be Costing You Money

Since the start of the pandemic, the workforce has changed drastically. Layoffs have become “the norm,” and furlough is now a term that everyone is familiar with. Difficult decisions were made, and cutting back on payroll costs was an obvious solution. But even as the workforce returns, things are not the same way they were before. Texas’s unemployment rate is still nearly double what it was pre-pandemic.

While your business may not be operating as it once was, it is important to analyze the effects of those tough decisions. What can you do to ensure the health of your business? While layoffs may have helped you through these difficult times, being understaffed is very likely costing you money. 

The Hidden Costs of Being Understaffed

It is a well-known fact that having too many employees directly affects profitability. On the flip side, having too few may be even more damaging to your company. Keeping payroll costs down is often one of the main reasons for keeping a small staff. But oftentimes companies don’t see how these decisions are hurting them in the long run. Let’s talk about some of the hidden costs that come from being understaffed that you may not have thought of.

Employee Stress

Studies have shown that stress has a direct effect on the health of individuals. Changes such as staff reduction or increase in business will add to the workload of your employees, plain and simple. When an employee’s workload increases, productivity, and attendance are both affected. Frequent absenteeism can ultimately hurt the day-to-day operations of any business, no matter the cause. 

High Turnover

Hiring an employee is a long-term investment. Having experienced employees who are able to keep your company running with little oversight, is worth the time and money. Offering overtime to existing employees is a great solution when you need extra help. Unfortunately, this short-term solution loses its appeal when an employee is overworked.

Hiring someone for an entry-level position costs an estimated 30-50% of a traditional annual salary. Replacing higher-level management is estimated to cost close to 400%. When you look at overtime costs and potential burnout, it’s worth it in the long run to hire extra help. By investing in long-term employee satisfaction, you can avoid paying increased payroll costs in the future.


The multifamily industry in particular values quality of service above many other industries. Customer satisfaction is a must for avoiding high rental turnover. Just as employee turnover is costly, having too many vacancies is a loss you can’t afford. When your team is overworked, the focus shifts to getting the work done rather than doing it well. Scheduled appointments get missed, jobs are rushed, and the quality of living for your residents can decrease. Quality is important for both office and maintenance staff, and it’s vital to your success.

Tips for Cutting Costs

The pandemic hit companies hard, and not everyone is in the clear yet. We understand this. Don’t risk the costs that go hand in hand with being understaffed. Here are some strategies for cutting other operating costs within your multifamily buildings:

Become Water Efficient

The water bill is one of the most costly utilities within multifamily communities. Making some updates can significantly cut these costs in the long run. Is maintaining a healthy landscape something you deal with? Try swapping out your current greenery with more water-friendly options. If it’s been years since you’ve updated your plumbing, look into high-efficiency fixtures. Analyzing your bill and looking into more cost-effective options will save you a lot of money in the long run. 

Going Green

Going green doesn’t only apply to office supplies and recycling. Making some simple updates can make a huge difference on your utility bills. If you’re still using regular light bulbs, try updating to more efficient LED bulbs. You can also use energy-efficient appliances, and look into other clean energy-producing products. Additionally, going green is not only good for the environment, but it will help your brand as well.

Preventative Maintenance

Keeping up with regular maintenance is a major money-saver when compared to costly repairs. Create a maintenance checklist and stick to it. This can include HVAC filter replacement, patching cracks in drywall, and flushing water heaters. Preventing costly repairs isn’t the only benefit of regular preventative maintenance. It will also ensure that your building is functioning at its prime, resulting in residents who are happy in their homes.


As we move further out of the unimaginable, it allows us an opportunity to focus again on the big picture. If there is any lesson that we can learn from this, it is to be prepared for anything. There are steps you can take to ensure your operations are geared towards sustainability and endurance. Keeping a happy and efficient staff is key. They are your team, and they will help carry you just as you help carry them.  

Worried your community may be understaffed? Hire Priority is here to help. As specialists in the multifamily industry, we have helped hundreds of central Texas properties with their staffing needs. With our prescreening and training options for candidates, we can help you build the long-lasting team you’re looking for.

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