Over half of those working within the property sector are experiencing higher levels of fatigue or stress due to an increase in the number of work-related enquiries they receive outside of office hours.
That is according to a study by YourBusinessNumber, which found that a quarter of those who receive enquiries are expected to respond before the next working day has begun.
With the evolution of smartphone technology, those in the property realm no longer rely on the office phone as a vital line of communication, meaning they are no longer attached to their desks to deal with customer enquiries.
Smartphone communication trumps the traditional office phone
According to the survey, 78% of property professionals say that their smartphone is pivotal when it comes to their day-to-day job.
What’s more, 51% of home buyers and sellers stated they found it very easy to contact their estate agent, with just 10% saying they had struggled to make contact.
But the study highlights a major downside to this increased accessibility. The perception that our ability to communicate should be more frequent and extend beyond the boundaries of our official working hours.
In fact, YourBusinessNumber found that a quarter of us expect to be able to communicate with our estate agent outside of the traditional nine to five working hours.
As a result, 26% of property professionals claimed that they regularly deal with work-related communications outside of their official working hours.
Some 47% have also seen their workload increase as a result of the pandemic property market boom, with 34% now dealing with more out of office enquiries as a result.
Increased work hours lead to fatigue and stress among professionals
YourBusinessNumber also found that for over 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.
In addition, 34% of those surveyed said that this blurs the lines between their professional and personal lives and prevents them from properly switching off from work.
For 53%, it also increases the levels of stress and fatigue that they endure as a result of their job.
Co-founder George Lineker comments: “Smartphone technology has dramatically improved our ability to communicate effectively and efficiently, allowing us to deal with customer enquiries from almost anywhere within reason.”
“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.”
Lineker says this is exacerbated by a growing expectation amongst consumers that enquiries should be answered around the clock – an expectation that no doubt increases the propensity to respond even outside of office hours.
He adds: “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.”