At the half way mark of the Revive 2017 Wellness and Wellbeing in Real Estate Round Table Series, the tour (which began in Melbourne on Tuesday,) has now left Adelaide, with already some actionable takeaways from the first two meetings.
Round Table: Two
Who: Nathan Casserly (Ouwens Casserly), Valerie Timms (Timms Real Estate), Dale Grey (Ouwens Casserly), Mark Lands (Lands Real Estate), Jet Xavier (Revive 2017 Project), Phil Harris (Harris Real Estate), Rob Caruana (Toop & Toop), James Bell (brad bell – QLD and Revive 2017 Project), Sarah Bell (Revive 2017 Project) and Michael McPhee (Senior Account Manager).
“I think the first thing we are seeing is that based on the national survey, which had over 1000 responses, we are looking at the issue of wellness significantly impacting around a third of the people in our organisations,” says Jet Xavier who is driving the initiative. “Although some organisations are being proactive and taking some steps towards implementing wellness and wellbeing initiatives, it is isn’t being widely adopted and there certainly isn’t a national blueprint.
“We need to move away from the ‘harden up’ message which pervades this industry and move towards more healthy and empowering discussions around what do we do with an industry that is obviously suffering from poor wellness and wellbeing practices.”
In gaining a sense of the scale of the problem, Phil Harris, Managing Director of Harris Real Estate (South Australia) said, “Mental health is an epidemic now…in the Western World,” also noting, “The model (for real estate) is geared to chew people up.”
“I think it will get worse,” said Glen Coutinho, Director of RT Edgar Boroondara (Victoria). As the market turns a lot of people are going to bail because they just can’t cope. I always want to find out what (a person’s) financial commitments are before they join me…it is a pretty open conversation…I think the onus is on a Principal to find that out and they need to be skilled at having that conversation before they put a (debit-credit or commission only) noose around someone.”
While physical fitness seems to dominate the conversation the group are finding through the survey results that it is not the whole story and that mental and emotional wellness and wellbeing is just as important.
“A lot of what I am hearing is that there is a sense that it is a weakness and that in real estate, which is so competitive and where individuals are brands in a way, people are reluctant to be vulnerable because it could be bad for business.”
Valerie Timms, Director of Timms Real Estate (South Australia) said, “The Industry only seems to recognise the top 10% and the spotlight is always on those people. So there isn’t reward for those doing consistent good business, the spotlight is always on the million-plus earners – for a reason…everyone wants to emulate them, but maybe there isn’t recognition for other successes.”
Marcus Washington, of Harcourts Packenham (Victoria) said, “I think there needs to be an external body for help and there would have been plenty of times when I first started that I would have gone and spoken to them because it was bloody hard.”
The Revive 2017 Round Tables have also hosted team members from Direct Connect, who are platinum sponsors of the project, and who have been able to provide insight into what other industries and corporations are doing in this space as well as a voice for suppliers to the real estate industry.
Penni Nicholls, attending the Round Table in Melbourne on behalf of Direct Connect and said, “Supporting this initiative is our opportunity to give back to the people who have trusted us to look after their valued customers and in turn, have helped our business grow. We are proud to be aligned with Revive 2017; as a business, the health and wellbeing of those in our workplace, our network and our communities is of the utmost importance to us.”
More deliberations will take place at a round table in Brisbane today, before moving on to Sydney on Friday.