A real estate network has taken its staff’s safety into its own hands by trialling an industry-first safety app to better protect property managers and agents from the “high level of risk” they are exposed to out in the field.
The Professionals franchise group has started trialling a UK-based and global safety app called StaySafe, which specialises in lone worker security.
Professionals Real Estate on the east coast of Australia general manager Alastair Lias said principals, property managers and sales agents don’t often think about their own safety until it’s compromised, and by then it’s probably too late.
“There have been a few instances lately where serious safety breaches have occurred in the industry, not just in Australia, but overseas too,” he told Residential Property Manager.
“The safety of our staff is always the most important thing, especially when as a property manager and real estate agent you are largely working by yourself out in the field.
“We first heard of the StaySafe app a month ago and now have five field staff who are using it,” he added.
Mr Lias said lone workers like property managers are often exposed to higher levels of risk because they have no one close at hand to help them in case of an emergency, for example "assault, threat, or everyday accidents".
“It’s a key area of real estate businesses that is often overlooked, or safety measures aren’t followed or implemented to their full capacity because they’re too cumbersome,” he said.
“An app is a quick and easy way of providing staff with an extra layer of security.
“It’s not about being Big Brother at all, it’s about recognising, mitigating and controlling risks, and providing safe systems for all our agents and staff.”
Also speaking to Residential Property Manager, StaySafe business development manager Australia and New Zealand Bob Barrington said most of the time nothing will happen when you are out on the job.
“[However] you might enter a property and you might be showing it to somebody at 5pm on a Friday evening. You don’t really know that person, you probably have some sort of mitigation in place, but you are showing a property to a stranger and you are behind closed doors – there are risks,” he said.
“So what you might do is use your app to set up a session. Say you are going to be half an hour and if at the end of half an hour you don’t terminate that session or extend it, it will automatically notify people that you might be in trouble, and arm them with the information to be able to respond – firstly call you and secondly send someone around.
“It doesn’t stop incidents happening – it can by enforcing a safety conscious culture – but what it will certainly do is reduce consequences of delay,” he added.