Industry must find ways to manage stress: mental health expert

Agents have been urged to “switch off” and focus on their mental health after a poll found three in 10 feel stressed in their jobs.

A recent poll on Real Estate Business found that 16.5 per cent of respondents experience a lot of stress in their job, while 13.1 per cent said they experienced a moderate amount.

Beyondblue head of workplace engagement Patrice O’Brien described the poll results as very worrying.

“There are a lot of spin-off effects to prolonged stress that can be very detrimental for someone’s health, so if 16.5 per cent are saying they experience a lot of stress I would suggest the real estate industry should start looking at ways they can focus on fixing that,” Ms O’Brien said.

“Prolonged stress that is not well managed can certainly lead to anxiety conditions and a range of physical complications.”

Ms O’Brien said it’s important for agents to focus on work-life balance and to consider putting in place protective factors to stop work taking over their lives.

“In this day and age where we’ve all got smartphones, it can be very hard to switch off,” Ms O’Brien told Real Estate Business.

“It’s critical for real estate agents, who often need to be ‘on’ a lot, to set aside times through the week to focus on other parts of their life such as family, friends and interests, and also give themselves some down time.”

Beyondblue’s Heads Up campaign promotes a mentally healthy workplace which minimises absenteeism and low productivity caused by stress and other mental health issues.

Ms O’Brien said employees have a responsibility to look after themselves and their colleagues, while employers have a responsibility to ensure they are providing a mentally healthy work environment.

“The best thing you can do is to seek help early and not let it get too overwhelming,” she said.

[Related: Taking the stress out of real estate]

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