The charity Agents Together – set up last year by Michael and Kenny Bruce with prominent industry consultant Sarah Edmundson as chief executive – says only 16 per cent of agency employees believe their employer has been able to help those with mental health issues during the pandemic so far.
The working group – led by Edmundson – comes after 90 per cent of those agents responding to the poll wanting more mental health support within the industry culture.
Some 75 per cent of agents have reported going to work feeling mentally unwell; over half did not reveal this because of the stigma associated with the subject.
Edmundson says: ‘The survey was commissioned to investigate and better understand the complex nature of mental health in the workplace, specifically in estate agency. We believe this to be the first study of its kind in the sector, and the results will help to develop the initiatives of the Agents Together foundation.”
She says the findings show it’s now time to act.
“I am asking agents; business owners and individuals to commit to supporting a cultural shift in mental health awareness and education across the industry.
“Together we can appraise employers approaches and work closely to develop best practice. Not only responding to mental health issues but to pro actively reduce stigma and improve ways in which wellbeing and performance can work hand in hand.”
Agents Together will be conducting further research this year as well as mounting an education programme, which Edmundson hopes will pay off for individual agents and the industry as a whole – in terms of well-being and financially.
“Deloitte’s research in January 2020 suggested that the benefits to businesses who embrace wellbeing are huge, with a return of £5 to every £1 spent on Mental Health in the workplace, and that was before Covid.
“The reality is this is quite unknown territory for many people, and we will aim to be the support that individuals and businesses need.”
Since June last year Agents Together has undertaken some 230 mentorships with 157 volunteer mentors.