Industry heavyweights rise to the challenge of addressing mental health issues
Nine in ten real estate agents in Australia experience high stress at work, and 65% of those agents say the stress has led to mental health issues.
The alarming statistics came from a recent Domain survey, which came from a poll of 200 real estate agents across the country.
The high levels of stress in the industry have been partly attributed to unprecedented restrictions imposed on the real estate sector last year, coupled with a competitive and unpredictable work environment.
Sixty percent of respondents said their workload was their main problem, while only 13% cited financial worries as their main concern.
Additionally, only a third of officers surveyed said they had sought help with their stress and mental health issues, although 60% said they would be willing to use a mental health-focused app from the industry.
Estate CEO Jason Pellegrino said that while it has long been recognized that realtors work in a very stressful environment, “he was confronted to see the results of our research.”
“The real estate world has always been a high pressure work environment, and the restrictions placed on the real estate industry over the past 18 months have certainly magnified the challenges facing real estate professionals,” said M Pellegrino. Elite agent.
“Having said that, we were intrigued and somewhat surprised to hear that people are still very concerned.
“Real estate is a very competitive and unpredictable industry and that translates into what agents have told us is a big workload, which brings a lot of stress.
“It reinforces the importance of focusing on mental well-being,” said Pellegrinio.
TRY THE CHALLENGE
The research led Domain to team up with Byron Bay’s first National Director and mental health advocate Chris Hanley to develop mental wellness initiatives in the industry.
In addition to his role at First National Byron Bay, Mr. Hanley is also the Director of Rise Initiative, which offers programs that facilitate well-being, mindfulness and development.
Earlier this month, Rise held a conference in Melbourne attended by over 1,200 agents from across Australia and New Zealand, and 150 who attended virtually.
Mr. Hanley said Elite agent the event was unlike other real estate conferences in that it focused on removing the focus on “performance and ego that dominates our industry”.
“After the COVID closures it was wonderful to come together again and there was a real sense of gratitude about this day,” he said.
THERE IS AN APPLICATION FOR THIS …
Mr Pellegrino explained that after engaging in discussions with Rise, it quickly became clear that their ideals aligned and that the two entities were interested in creating an ongoing partnership.
“Since then, we have both supported the Rise conference held in Melbourne (May 5) and helped fund the Real Care app, as well as expanding our EAP offering to all clients in the field, which is available in the app itself. ”
The Real Care app is designed to give agents the mental, physical and financial tools and resources they need to ensure the sustainability of their work.
“It helps you manage your commissions and finances – because money is often a source of stress – and it offers exercises to help you reduce stress, exercise, sleep better, meditate and manage anger. “said Hanley.
“With Domain, we’ve also added a specific real estate advisory service, which means if you’re an agent in crisis, there’s someone you can talk to in confidence.
“You might not need to use it every day, but it’s there for you when you do.”
Mr Hanley said the app had its genesis at the first Rise conference, which was held in New Zealand in 2019.
“After the original Rise conference in Christchurch, a group of very good people came together because we wanted to do more ‘good’ for real estate – that’s how the Rise Initiative was born,” he said. -he declares.
“At that time, I met David Stanley from Utility creation who has an extraordinary reputation for healthcare and recently created an app for the police forces of Australia and New Zealand in the area of mental wellness.
“It worked on the theory that prevention is better than cure and that the police can be given a tool to help them deal with the stress of work.”
Mr Hanley said the idea behind developing a similar app for the real estate industry was: “Well if it works for the police and the terrible things they have to deal with, it can surely work for a group. agents “.
It was a sentiment shared by Mr Pellegrinio, who said giving officers a resource to help them manage their mental well-being “and getting the support we all need from time to time” was of great value. importance.
“With many agents operating independently or within small businesses, the tools available are often limited to provide the mental well-being necessary to endure the stress that agents experience working in this high-pressure environment,” he said. he declares.
WE ARE ALL IN THE SAME BOAT
Mr Pellegrino and Mr Hanley said de-stigmatizing the mental health issue in the real sector is vital.
“It is essential that as an industry real estate is more open to discussing mental health and that we all support each other, especially when we are in difficulty,” said Pellegrino.
“We need to remove barriers to getting mental health support, and that includes removing any stigma associated with it.”
Mr Hanley noted that while some people traditionally mistake mental health issues for weakness, those who asked for help were often surprised at the amount of assistance available.
“If you put your hand up, if you say ‘I’m not great’, you are usually amazed how many people around you have had a similar experience and can understand what you are going through. Realize that you are not. alone – it’s not just you, ”he said.
“There are also people around you always in your life who really want to help you. As an industry, we need to agree that asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness, and be clear about what the avenues look like to get help so that it is easy to help. friends and colleagues who are going through a difficult time without making a big deal out of it.
Mr Pellegrino said he believes discussing mental health is slowly becoming less taboo than in the past.
“I think we can all relate to stress and anxiety at some point in our careers and the impacts it has had on our mental health and even our families,” he said. “It is time for judgment to stop.”