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Strengthening the Wellbeing of the Ray White Hawke’s Bay Team

By Elanor MacDonald

Looking back at 2020. The year that was (we’re sure you’ll agree!) It shifted the focus across New Zealand (across the world) and, on a local front, taught us that wellbeing and resilience plays a huge part in the success of both individuals and many Kiwi businesses. And for us here at Ray White Hawke’s Bay, it strengthened what has always mattered to us. Our people. All people. And especially their wellbeing. The real estate industry is often misunderstood. We list a house, we sell a house, and we get a whopping great commission, right? Not so. It’s a demanding job that requires a broad skill set. But, it’s one we do because we love it and it’s what we’re great at. People, property and performance is our thing.

The dedication of our team and the results they get, speak for themselves.

Across Hawke’s Bay our team sells at least one house every day.  We’re well known for building and maintaining relationships with our clients and industry colleagues, for having an in-depth understanding of the market – both locally and nationally, and for delivering on our promise of performance. 

There are times when the 24/7 nature of the job takes its toll; we’re there for our clients at milestone moments. The best times of their lives and, sometimes, the most stressful. We’re professional organisers, advisors, marketers, facilitators, mediators, counsellors and negotiators. We need an in-depth local knowledge – both of the market and what’s going on in the neighbourhood. We need to understand legal issues, changing legislations and laws. 2020 really upped the ante with digital technology forcing years of advancement into a very condensed time frame.  We of course were not immune, and Ray White really came to the party with a huge emphasis on the development of new technology, digital marketing optimisation and of course the training to go with it.  We have the most advanced resources in New Zealand.   

So how do we ensure our team are happy to come to work, resilient, focused and ready to do their very best? We invest in them. We invest in their wellbeing. Because investing in our people means they can be at the top of their game and they can do the very best for our clients and customers.

We’re proud of the work we already do to foster wellbeing in the workplace.

Ray White Hawke’s Bay offers a comprehensive and affordable group health scheme with automatic acceptance that covers all pre-existing conditions – no questions asked.  Unfortunately, in today’s environment relying on the public health system for care can often be a frustrating and long-drawn-out process.  We want our team to have access to the best doctors and specialists if, and when, they need it.  No one can be happy and perform at their best when they’re unwell or awaiting medical services or results.

So, with the lessons of 2020 in our minds and a continued focus on strengthening the wellbeing of our people, we wanted to look at new ways of supporting our team. So, we asked Stephen Archer of Mindfulness Works For Organisations to come to town and host a bespoke mindfulness training session.

Because we know when people feel their best, they do their best.

When our people are supported, when they’re armed with practical skills to draw on when they’re feeling overwhelmed or under pressure – they become more resilient. And resilient people can confidently shift their perspective. Their wellbeing improves and they’re likely to contribute to improving the wellbeing of others around them.

Here’s what we learnt during our session with Stephen Archer:

What is Mindfulness?

Stephen tells us, “Mindfulness is the science of mental fitness. It’s a tool for increasing the strength and quality of our attention and enables us to stay focussed and clear minded rather than getting lost in distractions and stress. In the workplace and with the complex demands of the digital age, it gives us a way to organise, protect and make best use of our minds and prevent them from getting cluttered”.

On an individual level, research shows that mindfulness can improve performance, memory, empathy, creativity and job satisfaction among other psychological and physiological factors. Being mindful is a smart way of working and is also good for our health.”

What did our Mindfulness session involve?

Throughout the 4-hour session, Stephen took our team through the science behind mindfulness practices and then facilitated mini- exercises centred around:

  • Improved focus, self-awareness, and attention control.
  • Greater stress-resiliency and ability to regulate difficult emotions.
  • Enhanced empathy and compassion.

We learnt how to relax our mind and when it wandered, how to be aware of this and bring it back to the place of self-awareness and connection.  Recharging and refreshing your mind and attention.

We practiced several easy and different ways of doing this (it’s not a one size fits all approach) that took a maximum of 12 minutes. Just over 10 minutes a day is not much time to take out to reconnect with ourselves and unload over-thinking busy minds or attention depletion.  This is so important in our industry where there are often no boundaries between work and life in general.

Benefits of mindfulness:

Stephen talked to us about how mindfulness can help with interpersonal communication, focus, concentration and:

  • Better mental health of staff.
  • Better work life balance. 
  • Healthier cultures in organisations.
  • Higher degrees of creativity and innovation.
  • Stronger levels of personal responsibility and leadership.
  • Less stress and worry.

If a more mindful workplace is a happier, healthier and more empowered workplace – we’re on board!

Incorporating our learnings into the Ray White Hawke’s Bay workplace:

As a team we’re looking forward to putting our learnings into practice in our own individual ways.  One of our incredible admin team has previously taught Yoga for Les Mills and has arranged a weekly session for anyone who wants to participate.  We’re on the lookout for some good outdoor furniture and bean bags to get out on nice days to eat lunch or have a cuppa. And then there’s the walking group – it’s off with the high-heels, into our sneakers and a brisk stroll at lunchtime.  We’re confident it’s a great start to creating a mindset that life is precious. 

If you’ve read this far and you’re feeling curious about mindfulness within your own organisation, or on an individual level, we’d encourage you to head on over to the Mindfulness Works For Organisations website and get in touch with Stephen.

Elanor MacDonald – Managing Director, Ray White Hawke’s Bay

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