Should Real Estate Agents Work Less?

Sales,  Salespeople

It might sound absurd for a real estate agent to work fewer hours, but what if the resulting increase in productivity meant actually getting the same – or more – work done? What’s the science behind working less, and how can you make it work for you?

When New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern floated the idea of employers adopting a four-day work week, it ignited a heated discussion amongst industries. While most of us have become so accustomed to the 9-5 working five-day week, it’s worth remembering we’ve only been working that way for a little less than a lifetime. In addition to bolstering the local economy, there’s also plenty of research to suggest working fewer hours results in increased productivity.

So, should real estate agents be working less?

Estate planning company Perpetual Guardian adopted a four-day week after a trial showed both an increase in productivity and employee engagement. Here in Australia, digital marketing company Versa did the same thing, giving their staff every Wednesday off, though still adhering to a 37.5-hour work week. Every real estate agent reading this is probably thinking the same thing: Real estate isn’t an 8-5 business. While that’s true, the same principles may still apply.

It’s hard to find conclusive figures on the number of hours real estate agents typically work, but if realestate.com.au’s A Day in the Life of a Real Estate Agent Revealed is anything to go by, agents are clocking up to 12 hours a day.

Identify Your Energy Map

The answer, says occupational psychologist Kelly Maniatis, is knowing your strengths and planning accordingly. “It comes down to what I call your energy map, which looks at what time of day you perform best,” she explains. “Some people are morning people and they can smash out 2-3 times more work in the morning and then they ease in the afternoon, and other people are the other way around.” Knowing when your peak times are is the first step. “It’s about tuning into what time you perform at your best and recreating your days so they reflect when you’re the most energetic,” Maniatis adds.

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Rest = Productivity

Working less also leads to better mental health and overall happiness which, in addition to being positive attributes in and of themselves, also contribute to heightened productivity. “When you’re working less you have more time to recover before going back to work,” says Maniatis. “When you’re actually managing how much you’re working, you’re going to balance the time you work with the time to properly recover from the stress and strain of work, which means you’re going to be more productive. We know people who spend more time with their social networks are more likely to be happier, and more likely to be satisfied with their overall life.”

Get your zzzz’s

Another crucial aspect is sleep. If your workload is preventing you from getting healthy amounts of shuteye, your productivity will suffer. “We know that sleep is the best form of recovery; people who have good sleep can be more productive at work and can achieve a lot more,” says Maniatis.

So while real estate agents simply have too much to do to manage everything in just four days, knowing when you perform at your best, planning your work week accordingly and getting plenty of sleep are all simple and effective ways you can both decrease your weekly hours while also boosting productivity and, perhaps most importantly, making you a happier and mentally healthier person.

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