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Principals have a duty of care for the mental health of their teams

By Kylie Davis
23 August 2021 | 1 minute read
Chris Hanley speaking at the Rise Conference earlier this year

Promoted by Rise Initiative

With Covid lockdowns adding to the stress faced by many agents and property managers, real estate principals needed to be particularly vigilant for the signs that team members were struggling and have plans in place to support those in need, said Chris Hanley, head of the Rise Initiative, and principal at First National Byron.

“Real estate has always been a high-stress game and those stakes have risen considerably during the Covid lockdown periods,” Chris said. “Property managers are working extraordinary workloads as they communicate with renters and landlords about the implications of lockdowns, while many sales agents are anxious about the impact of lockdowns on their finances and commissions.”

“As principals, we have both a legal and a moral obligation to care for both the physical and psychological health of our staff and to provide the information, training and support.”

In an article by Clayton Utz, the legal firm outlines how clear policies and procedures are needed inside businesses to help managers and staff manage psychological risks, together with practical guidance and education. Clayton Utz highlight that the obligation of employers to protect against psychological injury trigged by stress has been accepted at common law for a number of years. 

“There is still a lot of shame and embarrassment around mental health issues in real estate and many principals genuinely don’t know what to do if they are faced with a staff member experiencing a crisis or extreme stress, but that doesn’t let us off the hook,” Chris said.

“It’s why the Real Care app was created - to give real estate professionals the tools to help them manage their mindset and reduce stress and anxiety and provide a single place on their phones where they can get help when they need it.”

The Real Care app is a free mental health and wellness app specially designed by the real estate industry. It recognises the specific stresses and issues faced by agents and gives both agents and property managers the tools to manage anxiety, anger, physical health, sleep and even finances. There is also a personal counselling service courtesy of support from Domain. 

The Real Care app was designed after thousands of hours of consultation with Australian and New Zealand real estate agents by leading mental wellness experts Utility Creative, who have also built mental health apps for Australian police forces and other key industries. All data from the app is completely private and not seen or shared by anyone, including employers ensuring it can be used with complete confidentiality and discretion. 

“As a principal, encouraging your team to download the Real Care app can be an important step to helping your team realise that they are not alone or the first people in real estate to experience how they are feeling. That on its own can be enormously powerful,” Chris said. 

“At a business level, sharing information about the app can also be part of the actions you take to demonstrate that you have a structure in place for managing mental wellness for everyone in your team.”

To find out more and download the Real Care app click here: 

You can now sign up to receive Real Care Office Resources to share with your team members including flyers, kitchen posters and infographics.

Principals have a duty of care for the mental health of their teams
Chris Hanley Rise Side image
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