Inside Self-Storage Magazine 06/2001: Avoiding Manager Burnout

June 1, 2001

4 Min Read
Inside Self-Storage Magazine 06/2001: Avoiding Manager Burnout

Avoiding Manager Burnout

By Pamela Alton

One of the biggest problems Isee operators and managers experiencing at their facilities is employee burnout,which occurs especially in resident managers, since they not only work at thefacility but live there. When a manager resides off-site, burnout happens lessfrequently but still occurs. How can an owner and his manager(s) avoid thiscommon problem?

Hours Worked

I know some of you owners out there are not going to like what I'm about tosay, but it must be said and I have broad shoulders to take the heat. Some ofyou are not aware of this well-known fact: Slavery was abolished more than 200years ago! I see some owners expecting their managers to work five-and-a-half orsix days a week, closing the office only on Sunday, while paying them the sameas others who work only five days a week. Not only are these owners violatingwage and labor laws, they are single-handedly contributing to manager burnoutand turnover at their facilities.

It is short-sighted for an owner not to hire at least one relief manager tocover the facility on the full-time manager's days off. Why not be open sevendays a week and let a relief manager work the extra two days? Sunday is usuallya shorter work day. If you relieve your full-time manager of his duties onSunday and Monday, you'll pay far less in relief manager's wages than it mightcost you to have the office closed.

When you don't give your managers the necessary time they need to rejuvenateand handle their personal business, your are setting yourself and your managersup for failure. They will burn out easily, lose interest in their job and losemotivation. Their attitudes may change, and they may become more negative intheir thinking. Your facility will suffer in the long run. Is it worthwhile?Only you can answer that question.

Time Away From the Facility

When a manager resides on site, it is difficult for him to get time away fromhis daily workload. Most managers are very territorial, which can be anexcellent attribute; however, it might also mean they feel no one else iscapable of doing the work they do. These managers need to "let go,"and train their relief managers to handle daily operations in their absence.

I have seen tenants and relief managers stop the facility manager on his wayout--to the store, to go on vacation, to run some errand, etc.--to ask a minorquestion. The manager always drops everything to deal with the question orsituation, but what remains is an uncomfortable feeling that he can't take timeoff. Can you blame him? It is important the manager takes the steps necessary tofeel comfortable leaving the premises on a regular basis.

If your managers like to camp, they should plan to go at least once a monthto their favorite campground. If they like to visit local resorts like Las Vegasor Atlantic City, they should plan a trip and go. If they have grandchildrenthey miss, they should visit them. Even a drive in the country or a picniclunch, a movie or dinner out with friends can go a long way in helping themmaintain a relaxed, positive attitude during the work week.

Mini Vacations

Every few months, the manager might want to make arrangements for a"mini vacation" by taking off an extra day or two for a long weekend.One of my managers recently purchased a mobile home with some land in the statehe is from. He plans to retire there and wants to open an RV- and boat-storagefacility. Every chance he gets, he flies over there and works on his littleplace. He enjoys working on his future, and he returns to his job in a greatframe of mind.


Some owners I work with make great efforts to pay their managers well, andrespect them and the jobs they do. These owners also make certain their managersget time off by rewarding them with pre-paid vacations, trips to conventions orsimply extra days off. In return, the owners are rewarded with refreshed,relaxed and motivated managers, making the self-storage operation ultimatelymore profitable. Can you see where this might be a win/win situation? Take thetime now to sit down with your managers and make arrangements for them to getthat much-needed time off. You won't be sorry.

Pamela Alton is the owner of Mini-Management®, a nationwidemanager-placement service. Mini-Management also offers full-service and"operations-only" facility management, training manuals, inspectionsand audits, feasibility studies, consulting and training seminars. For moreinformation, call 800.646.4648.

Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter
ISS is the most comprehensive source for self-storage news, feature stories, videos and more.

You May Also Like