Viewing by month: December 2011

Relax and refresh for a busy 2012

For many companies across a variety of industries, the past year has been both a busy and stressful time.  Not only have global events such as heightened uncertainty in Europe’s financial markets put pressure on operations, rapidly advancing technologies have meant that people are often forced to respond almost instantaneously to issues, even when they are not ‘on the clock’.


The residential property industry too has certainly experienced pressure over the past year due to the aforementioned factors and others.  Needless to say, with the coming of Christmas where many businesses slow down or shut, it may just be time for people, including the owners and managers of real estate franchises, to take a break if possible.   


In fact, with 2012 looking to be a busy year for the Australian residential property market, it is very important for owners and managers to ensure that they take the time to relax and refresh themselves, preparing to make the most of next year while also remaining healthy and productive.  


Even if as the owner and/or manager of a real estate franchise you are only able to take a short amount of time off work, there are several things you can do to ensure you get the most out of the break.


1.       Try to switch off, even if just for a couple of days – where appropriate this could mean turning off your phone/computer and only responding to the most urgent emails.  Having some time away from the pressures of work can allow you to gain some perspective and even restimulate creative thought. 


2.       Enjoy your time with family and friends – try to spend meaningful time with the people who matter most to you.


3.       Make sure you get adequate sleep – throughout the year many busy people don’t get nearly as much sleep as they need to.  Use your time off to recuperate, allowing your body to recharge and replenish. 


4.       Spend time doing things you enjoy doing – when was the last time you did something for the fun of it, rather than because it was expected of you or a necessity for your business? Try to use your holidays to do enjoyable activities.  These don’t have to be expensive or time-consuming, rather could include a simple trip to the beach or a night out at dinner and a movie. 


With one year behind you and another busy one yet to come, it is important for many franchise owners and/or managers to take some time to relax and refresh themselves where possible over the holiday period.  By separating yourself from work and reducing your stress levels, even if just for a few days, you should be able to clear your mind, helping to ensure that you are ready to take on and make a success of 2012.

0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 21/12/2011 at 4:29 PM | Categories:

Use of social media over the holiday season

As a CENTURY 21 Australia real estate franchise owner and/or manager you are most likely getting ready to wind up your office activities for another year, enjoy some well-deserved time off, and start the new year refreshed and ready to take advantage of new opportunities in 2012.  Despite the reduced activity in your office over this time, there may be opportunities for you to remain active in the social media space and enjoy business success in an otherwise quiet period. 


In fact, with the use of social media tools such as blogs, Facebook and Twitter having increased dramatically over recent times, your CENTURY 21 real estate franchise may forego opportunities if it does not remain connected with followers over Christmas.  For those businesses which are active online, reduced activity and posted content could see you face the risk of losing hard-earned followers, as well as miss out on a valuable marketing opportunity to gain new followers, as many people are at home over this period and can spend more time online, connecting with your business.


Some easy ways for those CENTURY 21 real estate franchises who have an active online following to stay engaged with their followers over the festive season include:


·         Preparing blog material in advance which can be scheduled to automatically upload at certain points throughout the holiday season – allowing you to continue to post and meet the expectations of your followers.


·         Maintain the frequency of your regular updates and tweets, etc, yet keep these short and fresh, keeping your followers informed about events in the news and engaged with your agency. 


·         Monitor any questions that may arise from followers and answer these reasonably quickly – showing your community that you are active and responsive to their needs when other real estate businesses may not be. 


·         Wish your online community a happy holiday period.


Despite the benefits of maintaining online communication, such constant engagement with your social media networks over Christmas can also pose risks for your franchise which owners/managers need to be aware of and monitor.


One such potential issue that can arise is due to the fine line between personal and business social media use, particularly when employees are communicating on behalf of/about a business.  As the owner and/or manager of a CENTURY 21 real estate franchise, it is therefore important to talk to your staff and educate them about the potential issues that can arise from their online behaviour, and to delegate one authorised individual to communicate on behalf of your business. 


The Christmas period, while often quiet for businesses, usually sees increased online activity providing companies with a good opportunity to remain engaged with their community.  CENTURY 21 real estate franchises can use this to their advantage, potentially leading to further business opportunities and success in the New Year.   

0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 12/12/2011 at 10:20 AM | Categories:

How the Corporate Social Responsibility activities of your real estate franchise can motivate staff

There is a plethora of ways that businesses across all industries can motivate and retain valuable staff members.  Many of these are of course financial, including improved salary packages and commission structures, and fringe benefits.  However, companies, including real estate franchises, should not underestimate the positive impact that corporate social responsibility activities can have not just on the greater community, but on their employees as well. 


Many organisations stumble when it comes to defining what the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility actually is.  The Australian Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility suggests that the best definition to refer to is that provided by the International Organisation for Standardization in its new Guidance Standard on Social Responsibility, ISO 26000.  This states:


“Social responsibility is the responsibility of an organisation for the impacts of its decisions and activities on society and the environment, through transparent and ethical behaviour that:

·         contributes to sustainable development, including the health and the welfare of society

·         takes into account the expectation of stakeholders

·         is in compliance with applicable law and consistent with international norms of behaviour; and

·         is integrated throughout the organization and practised in its relationships.”


Examples of corporate social responsibility can be seen across many Australian organisations, with a number of companies supporting worthwhile causes both financially and with human capital, matching the donations made by staff to causes of their own choosing, working with and investing in the local community and providing expertise on a pro-bono basis as just a few. 


Such efforts certainly have a number of benefits for companies, not the least of which are the positive impacts that they can have on members of staff at all levels.  Acts of social responsibility can sometimes see staff members become more loyal to their employer and their levels of job satisfaction improve.  As a result, there is the possibility that these staff members may be more likely to be retained in their current position, with some even resisting the offer of improved financial benefits at a competing, yet less socially contributing, organisation. 


Implementing corporate social responsibility activities is an important consideration for all Australian organisations, including those in the real estate industry.  With social efforts, businesses can not only contribute in a worthwhile way to the local (and greater) community in which they operate, they can also have a positive impact on members of staff and give them the assurance that they are working within a socially aware organisation.

0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 07/12/2011 at 8:59 AM | Categories: