Taking time off is an important part of working in commercial real estate

Oct 12, 2022
getting the most out of your leave

Have you ever worked for a boss who made you feel guilty for taking time off?

You had no reason to feel bad because taking a break is part of your job.

It's just as important as everything else that you do, because having time off helps you be at your best when you need to perform.

In fact, if you are a leader, part of your role is to encourage your people to take their time off.

Burned-out employees are more likely to quit and deliver inferior client outcomes, while their accumulated annual leave entitlements become a future financial burden for the business.

So, as we approach the end of another tough year, start planning your leave if you haven’t already.

And, if you have a team, encourage them to do the same – for this year and 2023.

For some help with switching off, check out episode 109 of CRE Success: The Podcast. 



Episode transcript:

Hey, if you like the idea of taking a break, of just taking things a little bit easier, of slowing things down for a moment, you're going to enjoy today's show. 

Last week, we had a conversation about the importance of showing up. 

Today, I want to put forward the arguments for switching off. 

Now, are these two things contradictory? Well, they may seem to be at first, but actually, they're not. Because in order for you to show up, you do also need to have switched off from time to time.

And I want you to start thinking about taking leave, taking a break as part of your job, not a way that you take time off your job, because the time that you take away from what you do, makes you better at it. 

Let's have a discussion about that. 

Hello, welcome to episode 109 of CRE Success: The Podcast. My name is Darren Krakowiak. I'm here to help commercial real estate leaders to develop their people and to grow their business. 

Thanks for joining us for this episode. And before we get into it, I want to give you a special invitation. We've developed a new piece of content that I'm very excited to share with you. 

We just shared it with our members yesterday. It's called 10 more ways to kill it in commercial real estate. 

Now that sounds familiar. It's because you may have heard that before as 10 ways to kill it in commercial real estate. 

We developed this list early in 2021. We also released it as a bonus podcast episode in April 2021, in Season 2: Bonus Episode 1. So if you go through the back catalogue, you can catch the original 10 ways. 

But what I want to do is invite you to the premiere for non-members of CRE Success to get the 10 more ways to kill it in commercial real estate. And for you to do that, all you've got to do is register at cresuccess.co/more

When you do register, what we'll do is we'll also send you the list of the original 10 ways to kill it in commercial real estate in case you missed it or you'd like a refresh, we'll show you where you can listen to that presentation. 

And of course, you'll be the first of our non-members to take in the new session - 10 more ways to kill it in commercial real estate.

Let's get into today's episode, which is all about the importance of switching off. 

And you might have been thinking about taking a break because a lot of signals are telling us that it's time to take a break. Christmas is coming. You don't have to wear a mask anymore on a plane, on a train, or in an automobile, or in a rideshare car. Things are getting back to normal. 

So, if you haven't planned your end of year escape yet, that is possibly something that is going on in the back of your mind, and you're starting to think about doing it soon. 

However, I think over the last 2 years in particular, or 2.5 years, a lot of people have not taken much leave. A lot of people are feeling burnt out. 

And in our industry even though that's something which has perhaps been more pronounced over the last two and a half years, that is also something which hasn't been uncommon in years past as well. 

People feeling like they don't have the time, or that taking time off away from their business is somehow going to hurt them in the long run. 

Today, I want to put forward the case about why you need to take a break, why taking time off should be one of your highest priority and to be good at what you do. 

And I'm also going to suggest that you don't just take off the time. The three weeks in the industry shuts down between Christmas and the second week of January here in Australia, wherever that is for you. You know when you can take time off and everyone else is away and nothing's really happening and you feel really comfortable taking time off. I want to recommend that you also take some time off at least another point in the year. 

So, the reason why I think you want to take time off is because you need to recharge to be at your best. You need to give yourself time to be away from what you do every day, particularly if you're working really hard and going at a really fast pace because otherwise you put yourself at risk of burning out. 

And if you get close to burnout, then you won't be able to perform at your best.

If you want to improve as an individual, I think it's also important to take some time away, because some time away makes things more clear. You can take a step back and take a look at things and reflect on what's occurred. 

Sometimes in the day to day, minutiae of everything that's going on, you can't see the forest for the trees, but when you take a step back, you can get a broader perspective. 

And it helps you make realizations. It helps you reflect on not only the successes, but also the things that didn't go as well and to understand what you need to do more rather than what you need to focus on, and perhaps what you should focus on less in order to continue to improve the results that you achieve. 

And when you are producing great results, I think there is an argument again for taking some time away, because you need to reward yourself for the good work that you're putting in. Because what good is it to be successful and to post great results if you don't actually take some time to enjoy it. 

I think another argument for taking some time away from the day to day is that it will make you a better, well-rounded person. Because if all you're about is your work, then you might just be a little bit of a bore. 

And having some personal interests outside of work, not just on one day a week or things that you can do with clients, things that you can take away from the day to day of work and do for a continuous period, having some interests outside of work, it makes you a better rounded person, I believe. 

Now, when you take leave, like I said, many people take leave at the times of the year when the industry shuts down. 

But I think a real test of your ability to switch off and take leave is also to take at least a quarter of your leave at times when things aren't shut down. And to really unplug from what is going on in the day to day. 

When you're able to unplug from your business for say a week, that shows you that the systems and processes that you've got in place are really strong. 

I think it also allows you to not go for 11 or 11.5 months without taking a break. 

Now, if you're somebody who simply can't be fully switched off from your business, because of your level of responsibility, or because perhaps you've got something really important going on in deal terms or in project terms, then what I would recommend that you do while you're on leave when the whole industry isn't shut down, is just to allow one hour per day while you're on leave.

If you like office hours, where you'll be contactable by phone, that's the time where you're working on your emails, when replying to things that absolutely need your attention. 

But the other 23 hours a day is not for work, it's for your own time. And you want to be pretty strict about that. Because if you can't take time away from your work, then you're kind of like chained to your desk, right? 

I think it's a good thing to be able to take all of that time away. But I will allow one hour every day while you're away if you're away during a busy period to check-in and to be contactable and to help your team and your clients if they really do need your help.

Now, some people will say that, "You know, I can't possibly take time away, because I'm so busy or I'm too important."

And I want to let you know that I was previously in an important role. And I used to take 6 weeks of annual leave. 

How I negotiated that was in the previous role I was in, my previous boss decided that everyone at this level was going to get six weeks of annual leave. And he just introduced that. 

So, then when I moved to another organization, I said "Look, I get six weeks annual leave, and I expect to receive the same." And they awarded me that. 

Now what I found is that my target didn't go down proportionately to the time that I wasn't at work. I was still expected to deliver the same amount than if I'd taken four weeks or even less leave, because we're in a performance driven industry, right?

And the less time that you have to do things, the more efficient that you become. So if you allow less time for an activity, it's more likely that you'll find a way to get it done more efficiently because you allow less time. 

You can extrapolate that across the whole year. And whether you're working for 48 or 46 weeks in the year, or 50 if you're not taking all of your leave, you will use all of that time to get what it is that you need to get done. 

So, if you're allowing less time, you will find ways to be more efficient, to outsource more, to delegate more, to find ways to automate things or to just not do certain things that aren't important. 

Now if you are a leader and you're still not convinced about the importance of taking leave, if you think you're just far too busy for it, I would say you have a responsibility to take leave.

Because not only for all the other reasons that I've mentioned, but you might say, 'Look, I don't need it, I'm fine.' But your team do. 

And If you're so busy that you are not allowing yourself the opportunity to take leave, then that can sometimes send the message to team members that they don't have the option of taking leave or that it's going to be frowned upon. 

We need to set an example and take some time away from the business. That's one reason. 

The second reason why, as a leader, you need to take leave is because if you and your people don't take leave, that becomes a burden, a financial burden that the business continues to carry. 

So, here in Australia, for example, we don't have a use-it-or-lose-it annual leave policy. 

When I worked in Korea, they did have that policy. We used to have to try and force people to take leave towards the end of the year because we weren't able to carry it over. But there were these labor laws that said that people should be able to use their leave.

But here in Australia, you've got staff, they get their 4 weeks of statutory annual leave. If they only take 2 weeks annual leave, then next year, they have 6 weeks. And then if they only take 2 weeks that year, the next year, they have 8 weeks. 

Now if that person resigns, that becomes a cash flow issue for you to pay out weeks and weeks and weeks of annual leave. Or if you ever tried to sell the business, and you're carrying all of these weeks of annual leave obligations on the books that devalues the business. 

And like I said, everything will get done even if people take their leave, because the priorities of the business don't change because people are taking more leave. And people will find ways to get the job done when they take their leave. 

I think from a leadership perspective, it's also your responsibility to take your leave, but also to encourage your staff through your example, to take their leave. And that's going to be a financially better result for the business. 

So, start planning your leave now for 2023. I used to love looking through the calendar and seeing where there were public holidays that would fall fortuitously throughout the year where I could say take 6 days of annual leave and get 15 continuous days outside the office. 

Sometimes that would happen if the stars align. And some of those public holidays were based on the moon, I guess if the moons were in the right position that year, it was possible. 

Also, when you plan ahead for your annual leave, there's a couple of things that happen that allow you to plan your projects and plan your transactions. 

There are not key things happening when you're going to be on leave. You can sort of engineer that, but also give something to look forward to. 

And that can be the motivation to keep working hard because you know that the break is coming. 

So, my takeaway for you today is to take your leave, plan your leave and enjoy your leave. 

Because taking time away allows you to perform at your best and to see taking leave as part of your responsibilities and part of your job. 

That's our episode for today. Thank you so much for listening and I will speak to you soon.

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