ARLA Propertymark chief puts mental health high on agenda

5 February 2021 | Renting

ARLA Propertymark chief puts mental health high on agenda

The new chief executive of Propertymark, Tim Balcon, says he’s putting mental health and wellbeing within the property sector high on the agenda for his time in charge.

Writing on the ARLA website about a recent Agents Together charity report on the issue, Balcon says: “It is concerning to see so many respondents reporting mental health issues and not feeling that they are supported in the workplace. Agents Together has done important work sourcing views on this crucial topic, now more needs to be done.

“The mental wellbeing of agents is a concern for Propertymark and we will continue to support members and the wider profession at this difficult time.”

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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.

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. 

This post has originally been featured in Letting Agent Today.