Anton Babkov: A wellness strategy that works

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Wellness should be a focus of every workplace, but it's not enough to talk the talk, leaders need to walk the walk as well.

With the complex nature of society today, all businesses should have a mental health and overall wellness strategy, Rex Chief Executive Officer Anton Babkov says. But, as he explains, it's not enough just to talk the talk, you need to walk the walk too.

Despite increasing awareness about the importance of mental health and wellbeing, it’s often one of those ‘good in theory’ concepts that many leaders let slip by the wayside.

It can be hard to find the time, but I believe looking after your own wellbeing is not only the right thing to do, it’s also your job as a leader to show up every day as your best self.

You need to have the capacity to fulfil the role you have. And if you’re not looking after those foundational elements, then you’re not doing your job.

The other thing to consider is energy maintenance. It’s very easy to get overwhelmed with the volume of work you do.

If you break life up into different quadrants – family, physical health, mental health, work – all of these things are either providing energy or taking energy away.

If all you’re doing is taking energy away, you’ll quickly go into burnout mode. And when you’re in burnout mode you don’t operate effectively.

And if you’re not working effectively, your team won’t either, it all just floods down from the top.

What is wellbeing?

Here at Rex, we think about wellbeing in a holistic sense. You’re well in your mind, you’re well in your physical person, and you’re well in your intentions about your life.

In the workplace, it’s really common to neglect mental and physical wellness, and these two things are very closely interlinked.

When we talk about overall wellness, we look at it as a pyramid. Am I rested? Am I eating well? Am I getting regular exercise? If those things aren’t in place, then everything else falls over.

Property is especially stressful. As an agent, you’re balancing all sorts of demands – in work and in your personal life.

Most of the time, we think we’re operating in performance mode, when in reality, we’re operating in survival mode.

Managing your team’s wellness

Leaders must understand they have a duty of care when it comes to their team’s overall wellness.  

After all, work is often a primary cause of stress, therefore, we need to create the corresponding capacity for balance.

We offer employees great, challenging work, a great culture, all of those positive things, but it still comes at a cost.

Each individual has to pay that cost down by applying a level of energy to work that is therefore taken from other spheres of their life.

We must take steps to ensure they take breaks, have holidays, and we have to invest in the infrastructure and tools to help them properly switch off.

As real estate agents, switching off is incredibly difficult, especially during COVID-19 times where the line between work and personal is increasingly blurred.  

It’s up to us as leaders to help our teams build up the skill base to be able to remove themselves from the headspace of work.

There’s an economic benefit too. When people are at their best, your business reaps the rewards.

Injecting breaks and/or exercise into your team’s workday and investing in their wellness, is proven to make them more productive.

At Rex we invest in our people’s wellness in a variety of ways.

We run a weekly yoga session, we have personal training available, we provide a gym membership for the team, and have exercise equipment available to use on site, along with massage devices.

Our key focuses are balance, mindfulness, wellness, fitness and social connection.

Walk the walk

Of course, as leaders, if we want our team to prioritise their physical and mental wellbeing, it’s critical that we model those behaviours.

It’s not only leading by example, but it gives the team unspoken permission to follow suit.

Unfortunately, leaders aren’t always the best at prioritising downtime, but it can help to think of it as part of your job.

I’ve been a regular gym goer for the past 15 years, day in and day out, and my team are well aware of this.

It’s about creating a culture of self care, and it will pay dividends for you, your team, and your business.

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