As real estate agents, you keep up an exhausting pace most of the year. Although you present a serene, relaxed persona to the clients, behind the scenes there is a whole lot going on. Everything eventually takes its toll: from the constant expectations from your clients, interacting with potential buyers/sellers, the unending forms and files you must manage, to the driving, the staging, and the showing.
At some point you’ve probably longed to take a nice, long, vacation. However, to be able to fully relax while you’re away, you’ll need a comprehensive plan for managing your workload in your absence.
Here are our top 5 recommendations for creating your plan and setting boundaries around your availability to relieve the strain your job normally places on your family.
1. Schedule Your Phone Hours
While it may be unrealistic to be completely unavailable for more than a couple of days, you can still take longer trips without sacrificing your professional goals completely. Schedule times when you can be available to speak to your manager, check in with your fellow agents, or respond to client voicemail messages.
It’s up to you to be firm about this plan, though; expect that people will still somehow manage to call your cell phone when you haven’t made yourself available. Give yourself permission to swipe “ignore” and then carry on with your vacation. You’ve earned it, and keeping firm boundaries this time will set a pattern that will get easier to follow with every subsequent getaway.
2. Create “Out of Office” Messages
It’s easier than ever before to create automated “I’m away on vacation” messages for your voicemail and email accounts. Be sure these messages include alternate contact information for your clients so they can reach your manager or a fellow agent who can help them right away.
3. Rely On Your Colleagues
Whenever possible, your clients should feel like their needs are being met by your competent colleagues; this arrangement reflects well on you and your office. Inspections that can’t be postponed until after your arrival, urgent emails, and client phone calls all should be attended by your manager or other agents.
You’ll be able to return the favor when your fellow agents head out on their holidays, of course, and they’ll keep that in mind and be glad to help you out. However, returning from vacation with a thoughtful gift for those who covered for you goes a long way toward making sure they feel appreciated.
4. Choose the Slow Times
As real estate professionals, you know that there are always those times when you just don’t have as much going on. Rather than scheduling your vacation when you’d ideally like to go, you may need to create plans around the activity levels you expect in the office. If you don’t show houses much in January due to weather, for example, that might be the perfect time to head over to Hawaii or New Zealand.
Flexible thinking and creative planning will be your best assets when you’re planning your off-season vacation, but remember to check travel websites, Reddit, and Yelp, too.
5. Have a Plan for Your First Week Back
Sometimes we don’t like taking vacations because our return to work is so stressful and chaotic that we undo all that relaxation within our first three hours back at the helm. In order to make sure that doesn’t happen to you, it’s vital that you have a plan for tackling the work that may pile up in your absence.
Whether you decide to create a plan for dividing up your work by level of urgency, or ask your coworkers to help you get some of your busy work off your plate for one or two more days, it will likely help you feel less overwhelmed if you’ve got some semblance of a plan ready to execute.