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How can residential property surveyors achieve a true work-life balance?

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Article posted by Rebecca Mawer on Oct 27, 2021

The elusive work-life balance. It’s something all of us strive for, and it’s certainly become even more of a priority for people since the pandemic, as everyone has reassessed their priorities. With more flexible and remote working becoming commonplace, more people are achieving a better work-life balance than ever before.

But for many residential valuation surveyors, it’s still a huge pain point and not something that is yet a reality for them. It’s often the opposite, with many working extremely long hours in high pressured environments. Many companies talk of offering a good work-life balance, but sadly it’s not true in reality. Many surveyors are experiencing burnout, and regularly feel the negative impact of work upon their family life.

So is this just a reality of the role and what are the contributing factors currently preventing more positive shifts in this area?

Points/threshold scheme – The number of points a surveyor needs to make up each day has a huge impact on their work-life balance. On average, a surveyor is expected to make up to 5.5 points a day from their appointments, while some corporate roles can demand up to 8 points a day. With different points often allocated for home-buyers surveyors, mortgage valuations, and surveys, it can be harder on some days to achieve your threshold, depending on what you have booked in. Greater pressure to deliver more points can also mean fewer hours in your working day to write up the necessary reports, eating into personal time in the evenings and weekends.

Report turnaround time – Is a same-day turnaround expected? And if so, employers need to consider if this is this manageable with the level of points that are also expected. Are surveyors being given time to complete report write-ups on the same day within ‘work’ hours, or are they out on the road all day and then expected to write up reports into the evening at home? Many surveyors regularly report the latter, which severely impacts their personal and family time.

Patch size – The size of the geographical patch covered will also make a huge difference to work-life balance. The RICS guidelines recommend patches of no larger than 25 miles radius. Depending on where appointments are and at what times of the day, this can make a huge difference to the number of miles surveyors are covering, and therefore how long they are on the road each day. With better management of surveyors' routes each day, travel time between surveys can be kept to a minimum.

Effectiveness of the surveyor – If surveyors are not being efficient with their workload planning, then this will negatively impact their ability to work effectively, which will ultimately start to impact their quality of work. Companies must give thought to the training and support they can offer to help make their surveyors more effective. Mid-sized firms have traditionally been very good at training surveyors to work efficiently, but sadly as firms tend to grow bigger, the less support they seem to offer.

The reality is that expectations around work-life balance have shifted, no matter what your job role or industry sector worked in. And it’s no different for surveyors in residential property. With several factors impacting a surveyor’s day, management must support their surveyors to work as effectively as possible, to enable them to achieve a good work-life balance and remain happy and productive in their work. How many points they are expected to achieve each day, turnaround times for reports, and distance covered, plus the efficiency of the surveyor and support from management are all contributing factors. Employers need to bear all of this in mind to prevent surveyor burnout and avoid losing talented people from the profession.

If you need help to hire residential valuation surveyors or would like some advice on your next career move, I’d love to help. Feel free to drop me an email to discuss further.

The article was written by Rebecca Mawer, Recruitment Consultant - Residential Valuations.