Real estate is widely recognised as a 24/7 industry, which often contributes to burnout and mental illness.
In addition to long hours, it’s an industry filled with a never-ending roller coaster of emotions.
There are ups and downs, wins and losses, acceptance and a lot of rejection.
It probably comes as no surprise that poor mental health has taken a firm foothold in our industry.
As a leader, it can be challenging to help your team remain balanced and mentally, as well as physically, well.
When I had my offices, I had a team of 20, predominantly female, staff, and many found it a challenge to balance running the home, looking after children and working.
It only took one mishap to throw the morning school routine out or an attack of mother’s guilt during daycare drop-off to derail the day if there was no support at work.
I had an open door policy with flexibility in work hours and schedules, so my team knew they could come to me when these things happened, and we would find a way to overcome it together.
Sometimes that meant going for a coffee to talk it through, and other times it meant giving them an hour to catch their breath or work from home if a child was sick.
Time away from the office for school assemblies and sporting events also received a tick.
As a working mum myself, I fully understood their situation.
Here are my suggestions on how you can bring fun, happiness and balance into the lives of your team.
- Start the day with a happy dance. Each team member can choose a song and when everyone gets into the office, turn up the volume and dance away! It will instantly brighten everyone’s mood.
- Have soft, appropriate music playing in your office. It’s a mood enhancer. Also, try a diffuser with essential oils.
- Keep your team active and make exercise part of their day. If they haven’t had time to go to the gym or for a walk outside of work hours, make it a priority for them to take time at lunch to fit that into their day. They’ll come back energised and focused for the afternoon.
- Have some fun, noisy toy (rather than the bell) that people can activate when they get a result. We had a chicken which made a lot of noise and did a wriggly dance through the office. Every time there was a listing, offer or sale, that little chicken would do his boogie, and the team would all get up and boogie with him.
- Have an open door policy to encourage your team to talk about challenges, opinions and ideas that would help the workplace and their home lives meld together comfortably. Ask them how that balance would look if they had that choice.
- Introduce more flexibility into how you approach work-life balance. Allow flexible hours, give time off to attend kids’ events and accept mental health days when they’re needed.
- Regular one-on-one meetings where you don’t just talk about work help you check in on your team’s wellbeing.
- Culture is super important, so keep an eye on conversations and interactions within the team so that you can address any potential issues before they escalate.
- Have a wellbeing action plan that includes team bonding activity days, team meditation or yoga classes. Join local community fundraisers and compete in local events as a team.
- Organise regular motivational training and encourage your team to help other team members if needed. A strong and healthy business is one in which everyone bands together and works as one to fill in the gaps as they arise.
- If you know someone is struggling and can’t quite get through it, provide external support through a counselling session or bring in a mediator to help them and show your support.
Our industry is full of rejection, hours upon hours of nurturing and follow-up without reward.
There can be dog-eat-dog competition between agencies, extreme expectations from clients, inconsistency in markets and external factors which affect our ability to earn money.
Clients often need a real estate agent due to unhappy circumstances and their troubles can end up on your team’s shoulders to manage.
Your job as a leader is to do all you can to keep your team healthy in mind and body.
Helping your team process and let go of pressure, rejection or conflict with clients is another key area to support your people in.
Role-playing different scenarios and outcomes can not only help your team develop solutions to problems, but make them feel supported in the process.
Sharing your stories of rejection and hardship throughout your career can help your team feel accepted, understood and not as though they have failed.
Your team looks up to you, and your approval means everything to them.
If they feel they’ve let you down, they will take things much more emotionally.
Be their rock in the workplace by giving them stability, safety, security, guidance and acknowledgement.
And make sure that they are kinder to themselves when things go wrong.
They’ll recover quicker and spring back into action better that way.