Cobden & Hayson take the lead on mental wellbeing

New South Was agency, Cobden & Hayson, has taken the lead on mental wellbeing in the real estate profession, rolling out a new initiative they hope will boost their employee’s overall health.

In an industry-first initiative, Cobden & Hayson has collaborated with the Real Estate Employers Federation (REEF) to draft and implement a Purchased Additional Leave policy.

The program will enable employees to use part of their annual salary to purchase an additional four weeks of leave each year, on top of their regular annual leave entitlements. The initiative will allow employees to take have access to leave for up to a total of eight weeks a year.

Cobden & Hayson Director, Matthew Hayson, noted real estate professionals were often subject to a range of pressures out of their control and he believes it is something that needs to be addressed.

“Real estate agents absorb the pressure of the vendors and the buyers. We are constantly dealing with the stresses that are in their lives surrounding the move and whether it is for a good or bad reason, there are pressures that come with that,” Mr Hayson said.

“We’re constantly dealing with emotions and emotional intelligence on a daily basis while trying to put deals together for both sides. There will never be a sale where you look back and say, ‘that was easy’, there is always a challenge. There is never any stable ground. And we feel that all the time.

“It feels like your job is never done and you’re constantly in demand, constantly disrupting you and your family’s time.”

Mr Hayson believes investment in people is the best investment any agency can make.

“We’re really pushing for mental strength, mental toughness and mental resilience so all of our people can deal with all of the adversity that comes their way at any time,” he stated.

“We don’t see the pressure of the work-life and home-life getting any easier in the future. So hopefully these new measures will help employees be more calm, more stable and more present when they are doing business, as well as being more effective and efficient and manage situations calmly. Then when they get home they can then switch off far more easily.”

Cobden & Hayson has also engaged seasoned inspirational speaker and coach, Matt Griggs, to deliver his insights on performance and physical versus mental strength to all employees.

“Matt draws on his experience as a meditation instructor, an ex-professional surfer and coach of high-level executives along with world champion surfers such as Mick Fanning,” Mr Hayson said.

“We believe his depth of knowledge will help our team make any necessary changes to find happiness and success in life without compromising themselves in the process.

“As part of our long-term Employee Wellness Initiative, Matt will be involved in our company-wide off-site training sessions that we hope will set the foundations for our focus on mental strength. He believes that ‘physical strength is how much you can carry while mental strength is how much you can let go’.

“We will also provide ongoing training and support to reinforce an environment where our people are helped through the stressful times. The idea is to equip them with the right tools to deal with issues when they arise so they can realise their potential and work productively to achieve their goals.”

Mr Hayson believes the industry as a whole is starting to put more focus on mental wellbeing, but there are some core beliefs he would like to see change.

“As an industry, we’re constantly ramming it down people’s throats the idea that unless your writing million of dollars each year you’re not doing a good enough job. It’s always GCI. Maybe the industry as a whole should be focused on what is more fulfilling to them individually. Maybe that’s fewer clients or better relationships, which would be a good thing for the industry as a whole,” he said.

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Rowan Crosby

Rowan Crosby is a freelance journalist specialising in finance and real estate.