Whilst the Christmas decorations are up, the village choir is carolling and the Christmas celebrations are beginning in and around the village, the village manager’s work is not quite done.
Here are some hints and tips that might help ensure you have a peaceful Christmas season:
Getting in front of some risks
Schedule some time in the diary to disaster-proof your Christmas period:
- In many states it is the commencement of fire season and unusual weather activities so it is a great time to review the Fire & Evacuation plans and even consider running an Evacuation drill reminder session for residents.
- Review the emergency contact numbers for residents and remind them of when and what numbers they are to call for the different types of likely mishaps.
- It is also an opportunity to make sure that you have access to resident’s emergency contact details.
- Also the emergency numbers for support contractors during the Christmas period. Suggestion: put them in your phone or so they are easily accessible when off-site.
- Confirm, test and communicate any phone diversions that may be put in place during the holiday period.
- Ensure the CCTV and safety mechanisms in and around the village are working and have been serviced.
- It even pays to check with service providers that assist with automated facilities such as automatic gates, lifts and automatic doors if there are emergency contact numbers for their services during the break.
- If you are handing over to someone else, even within the organisation, during the break, make sure they are prepared for the likely emergencies that could occur, know where to find the required information, who to call, have access to the contact phone lists and are also contactable during this time.
Sales and marketing
- Consider inviting depositors or potential residents to one of the Christmas activities.
- Don’t stop marketing just because it is Christmas.
- Ensure there is a plan for sales enquiries through the Christmas period, especially for those families that only come home once a year and this year is the year, they decide Mum needs to move.
- Send a Christmas note and thank you to those that have made your job easier throughout the year; might be the plumber that drops everything when you have a hot water issue, the mail man that walks your mail into you on a rainy day, a personal carer that is always smiling and happy to help, or a helpful resident that puts away your office bins. There are generally those people around the village that do more than they have to make sure you thank them and wish them well for the holiday season.
- Allow some time in your diary to do those tidy-up jobs you have been putting off during the year and get it off your to do list.
Finally, it should also be a great time of self-reflection of the many wonderful things that have occurred or been achieved in your village over the past year. Making a list of these can be rewarding. Perhaps consider sharing them with the residents in the last or first newsletter for the year.
Jodie has 25 years experience managing retirement villages and is principal of Optimum Retirement Services