Last month, the White House made a decision to increase the income threshold under which workers qualify for overtime pay. Though this new rule may not be a particular victory for real estate agents, it points out a problem (enough where the government had to get involved): Americans are working longer hours … without the benefits.
At what point did “making it big” turn from more leisure opportunities into more work? There’s almost an unseen cultural change. Working longer hours -- having the ability to do so -- has become a sign of privilege in our society. Top performers are the people pulling in more time … punching the clock later.
But is this where the real estate industry should be?
As I hear stories from agents and brokers alike, there’s a common thread: How do I create a work-life balance? And more importantly, how do I do it when the world is so connected through mobile devices, email, and so on? Even apps like Slack and HipChat are becoming the next craze. When do we evaluate the trade-off between accessibility/service and stress/burnout?
I’ll be the first to say I don’t have answers. This is where I look forward to the comments, honestly. And as we begin that conversation, I thought I’d share some tips on managing stress, burnout, and anxiety.
Model & Encourage Best Work-Life Practices
Stress is contagious. When one team member starts to burn the midnight oil and feel anxiety about their workload, it spreads to other members. And though stress can be contagious, so can positive experiences with well-being.
A Gallup research report that surveyed 105 teams discovered when individuals who experienced well-being were 20% more likely to have other team members who reported thriving six months later.
Here’s the takeaway: By promoting activities that encourage well-being for yourself and team members … it spreads through the whole office. It helps increase productivity and performance. So, consider offering resilience training or rallying the team behind renewal activities.
Give Time to Disconnect Outside of Work
High-performance is a mandate, not only from our bosses, but from consumers (i.e. homebuyers and sellers). People expect service at almost any time of the day. With the rigors of a “high-performance” culture and an “always connected” society, it’s easy to dictate when you should engage in work. But it’s equally important to outline when not to engage in work. No emails after 8 pm, for example.
Emphasize “Monotasking” for Better Focus
Multitasking is a myth. Our brains can’t really perform tasks simultaneously. Each time we move from hearing music to writing a text, we’re hitting a stop/start process inside our brains. Trying to multitask doubles the time it takes to do the task … and it usually creates more mistakes.
By encouraging monotasking, you can help yourself (and team members) prioritize work. You can do this by defining deliverables, goals, and milestones to hit -- and which ones are most important.
How Do You Create a Work-Life Balance?
As performance becomes more highly measured and with more emphasis on “do it now,” how do you maintain a healthy relationship with work? Do you think real estate agents should have an “off button” where they take time away from work -- or is that impossible in the heat of competition?