More and more Australians are going above and beyond in the workplace, and the real estate industry is far from immune. Kate Strickland ponders the big question of inner guilt and fostering the work/life balance.
I recently read a stat about how Aussies aren’t taking leave anymore and it had me thinking about the reasons why. It seems more and more common that people are afraid to take time off because they fear they will have to work double the time to make up for it when they return. Is feeling guilty the new normal?
When we feel guilty about taking time for ourselves, it leaves us feeling more stressed and frustrated. Work should be about fulfilment, happiness and freedom, yet it’s becoming normal to work 12-hour plus days to fit it all in, particularly in this career.
Yes, we work hard, but we also have the ability to work the hours we want to work and take holidays. Depending on how you are remunerated, you are essentially a volunteer in the real estate industry with the freedom to design your career and your life.
The focus should be on working smarter, not harder. To be more productive, more engaged and more grateful in what we do, we have to be fresh and happy.
At a recent real estate training session one of the young guys said he would love to read the Financial Review every morning to be across current affairs, but he feels bad because he feels as though that time should be spent prospecting. I was quite jarred by the internal dialogue. There is a sense of ‘if I’m not sitting at my desk, I’m cheating myself and my boss’.
In reality, the feeling of guilt should only be legitimised when we are genuinely letting ourselves down and working under our capacity. If you put your head on the pillow at night and you know you’ve achieved all the tasks you set out to achieve in the day, then what more can you do? It’s imperative to your overall happiness and wellbeing to have balance and reward yourself along the way, whether that’s taking a break to read the paper or stepping out for a walk in the fresh air.
I worry that perhaps we have created an environment of burnt-out workaholics who end up resenting their jobs and ultimately leaving the industry.
As leaders in the business there’s a fine line when it comes to driving our teams too hard to a point where they get those guilty feelings.
It’s important to ensure we speak the language of our teams. Know what makes them happy and what makes them sad, be supportive while pressing the right buttons to inspire them.
No one operates well with someone breathing down their neck, with shackles on their ankles. Of course, there are two sides to every coin and on the flip side some people need strict guidelines and KPI’s to work to.
Real estate is a platform that is second to none in enabling us all to live great lives. So let’s enjoy the ride, but remember, we don’t live to work, it’s quite the opposite. Take a minute to reflect on your current status, make an adjustment if you need to and book some time out soon just for you.