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Why Brett Andreassen makes time for work and play

Setting clear boundaries between work and family time is crucial for high-achieving real estate agent Brett Andreassen.

He takes every Friday off to care for his two young children.

The Plum Property agent, who covers Brisbane’s inner-western suburbs, is a two-time winner of the Real Estate Institute of Queensland’s residential property salesperson of the year award.

Speaking to Close-Ups, a series of video interviews conducted by real estate tech company Rex for their website, Mr Andreassen said: “My voicemail gets changed on Friday morning to say I’ll be unavailable until 5pm. Once you set the expectation for clients, people understand completely.”

The strict day-off routine hasn’t cost him any business, he said.

The first series of Close-Ups talks to industry leaders about their tips for maintaining health and wellbeing in a high-pressure industry where many feel the need to be available to clients at any time of the day or night.

“I don’t work Fridays, full-stop,” Mr Andrerassen said.

“I don’t want to be the dad that is not there because we have to work Saturdays, so I get to spend Fridays with them.”

Learning to say ‘no’ can be a struggle for many in a busy profession but those who don’t risk burn-out, Mr Andreassen said.

“Especially when you are younger you feel like you are doing the wrong thing by not saying ‘yes’ to every appointment,” he said.

“Having the courage to say ‘no’ is probably more important in my career now than to say ‘yes’ to every single appointment that I can.

“I explain to people, that is my day with my kids and I found that people really respect that.”

The Queendsland floods of 2011 were a stressful event for many residents and businesses, with a heavy impact on the property industry.

“When you have 20 properties come off the market overnight … that was a rough one,” Mr Andreassen said. 

“What I learnt from that is all we can do during that period is to help.

“I couldn’t be a salesperson during that time. I couldn’t be the real estate agent making 50 or 100 phone calls. All I could do was just be present where I could and offer assistance where I could.”

Another flood crisis in February this year brought the trauma back for those hit by the 2011 floods.

“I had to take a few days just to get my head back into gear because of having to go through that again,” Mr Andreassen said.

He texted clients and colleagues to explain he needed a mental health day and would work from home. The response was all positive.

“There used to be such a stigma around men taking mental health days, not looking after themselves,” Mr Andreassen said. 

“It was never looked on favourably. That has changed as people have talked about it a lot more.”

Mr Andreassen’s advice to busy property professionals is to set your boundaries:

“That’s the most important thing, or else you are going to work 24/7 and then you will start resenting everyone who calls.”

Watch Close-Ups here

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Noel Mengel

Noel Mengel is a freelance journalist and author based in Brisbane.

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