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Research – blurred lines increase stress and fatigue for property professionals

More than half of those working within the property sector are suffering from higher levels of fatigue or stress, due to a rise in the number of work-related enquiries they receive outside of office hours.

The study by YourBusinessNumber found that a quarter of people expect to be responded to outside of nine to five.

With office phones no longer the only vital line of communication for property professionals, thanks to the evolution of smartphone technology meaning they no longer have to be chained to their desks to deal with customer enquiries, the firm said it’s no surprise that 78% of the property professionals surveyed say that their smartphone is pivotal to their day-to-day working.


Additionally, over half (51%) of homebuyers and sellers said they found it very easy to contact their estate agent, with only 10% saying they had struggled to make contact.

The downside to this increased accessibility, though, is the perception that the ability to communicate should be more frequent and extend beyond the boundaries of our official working hours, the study argues.

YourBusinessNumber revealed that 25% of people expect to be able to communicate with their estate agent outside of the traditional nine to five working hours.

Consequently, some 26% of property professionals told the survey that they regularly deal with work-related communications outside of their official working hours, while 47% have also seen their workload increase as a result of the pandemic property market boom. As a result, 34% are now dealing with more out of office enquiries.

The issue with being more accessible around the clock was shown by the fact that, for more than half of property professionals (56%), their personal phone also doubles up as their work phone, meaning they tend to forgo the option to turn it off once they’re done for the day.

For 34% of those surveyed, this blurs the lines between their professional and personal lives and prevents them from properly switching off from work. Meanwhile, for more than half (53%), it also increases the levels of stress and fatigue that they endure as a result of their job.

“Smartphone technology has dramatically improved our ability to communicate effectively and efficiently, allowing us to deal with customer enquiries from almost anywhere within reason,” co-founder of YourBusinessNumber, George Lineker, commented.

“However, it has also seen many blur the lines between our professional and personal lives and while this above and beyond work ethic is an admirable trait, the inability to properly switch off can be detrimental to our personal wellbeing.”

He added: “It certainly doesn’t help that there is a growing expectation amongst consumers that enquiries should be answered around the clock, an expectation that no doubt increases our propensity to respond even when we’re not officially working.”

“The fact that over half of those we surveyed use their personal phone as their work phone is probably the biggest factor preventing truly uninterrupted downtime. There’s certainly no shame in switching off and that’s why we wanted to provide a solution that facilitates this without the need to juggle multiple handsets.”

  • Rob Hailstone

    Timely article, bearing in mind another EAT article today; Would a four-day working week ever work in agency? Would be interesting to know which other property professionals were involved, and it would be helpful to be able to access the full results of the study.

  • icon

    "due to a rise in the number of work-related enquiries they receive outside of office hours."

    We get enquires after 5 pm.
    My staff are told to respond in the morning.
    It is their job not their life.

    "The study by YourBusinessNumber found that a quarter of people expect to be responded to outside of nine to five."

    The age of entitlement and self importance.
    We educate our clients to understand that we have families and hobbies and a life outside work.


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