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The end of the month is challenging for title agents. It’s a race to gather documents for review, communicate with various parties, and complete the necessary steps to meet demanding transactional deadlines. And you can only run this “race” so many times before real estate burnout takes hold.
At first, the signs might be subtle. You might feel less energy, increased frustration, and a sense of dread about work.
And it’s not because you don’t love your job.
A recent survey found that 87% of employees report a passion for their current job, but 67% say they’re frequently stressed, dispelling the myth that passionate employees are immune to burnout.
If you're feeling the effects of real estate burnout, don’t worry, it's possible to restore balance with a few helpful strategies.
What is burnout?
Workplace burnout is physical and mental exhaustion caused by excessive amounts of stress. It’s the pile of closing paperwork that never gets smaller, not having enough resources to do your job, and a nagging imbalance between your personal and professional life. Burnout can create a sense of powerlessness, frustration, and disconnection and directly impact operational efficiency.
Attention to detail, timeliness, customer service, and decision-making abilities are critical as a title and settlement professional. And when you’re exhausted, these areas are often impacted, presenting significant business challenges. But perhaps more important is the toll that real estate burnout can take on your overall well-being.
Why preventing burnout is important for title professionals
Workplace burnout can sneak up on you, quietly drain your energy, and affect productivity. Here are a few reasons why prevention is key:
- Increased health challenges. Stress often fuels burnout, and research has shown that prolonged stress can affect health. Around three-quarters of adults (76%) said they had experienced health impacts due to stress in the prior month, such as headache (38%), fatigue (35%), feeling nervous or anxious (34%), or feeling depressed or sad (33%).
- Difficulties focusing on work. Exhausted and overwhelmed, burnout makes it harder to concentrate. Fatigue may increase transactional delays and oversights, such as missed paperwork, poor customer service, communication breakdowns, and more. And nobody wants to feel like they’re underperforming at work or letting clients down, creating further stress, fatigue, and frustration.
- Increased work absences. Statistics show that 60% of absenteeism is related to psychological stress and stress-related burnout. Missing work can also create additional stress as you work harder to keep up with deadlines. With fewer employees available to do the work, extra strain is put on present employees, who might need help battling burnout themselves.
Resolving workplace burnout is a two-pronged approach: First, you can use strategies to ease workplace stress and find more balance as an individual or manager. And second, title companies can explore introducing tools and technology that create more operational efficiency and, thus, less job burnout.
Tips to avoid and recover from burnout
The feeling of “always being on” often fuels real estate burnout. Here are a few strategies to lessen that burden as a title and settlement professional.
Seek opportunities to “recharge” rather than “drain.” An activity can either recharge or drain you. When experiencing burnout, you likely have too many tasks that fall into the “draining” category. An easy way to recharge is using controlled breathing. It’s proven to cause physical changes in the body that lower stress, including reducing your blood pressure and heart rate. Even a few minutes at a time can make a difference. Managers and business leaders can help employees combat this by encouraging staff to take lunch away from their desks or host a walking meeting or office happy hour.
Set boundaries at work. It’s hard to set boundaries at work, especially in an always-on, customer-centric culture with hard deadlines. One in two American workers feels unable to take their full lunch breaks. However, taking breaks and holding boundaries (even during the end-of-the-month rush) can help to ease workplace pressures and reduce stress and burnout. Experienced managers and operations teams can help to reinforce better boundary setting for their staff by leading by example or encouraging employees to say “no” or “yes, but not right now.”
Take your PTO, and don’t feel bad about it. Over half of workers don’t take their full PTO time. In a recent survey by Pew Research, respondents shared that not taking PTO is rooted in worries about slowing their career advancement and experiencing other negative consequences. But taking PTO can help you recharge, lower stress levels, and perform better at your job. For those managing teams, encourage employees to schedule time off to avoid feelings of work-related stress and overwhelm.
Break stress cycles. Not enough time in the day is a powerful feeling and often the source of poor decision-making. Time, and not enough of it, also is one of the top business challenges that title professionals face today. Feeling pressed for time or overwhelmed with manual to-dos can lead to making unhealthy food choices, skipping workouts, and collapsing at the end of the workday because you don’t have enough in the tank for proper self-care. Stress puts greater demand on the body for oxygen, nutrients, and energy, so prioritizing healthy eating and physical activity is key to feeling good at work. People managers can work with business owners, human resource teams, and office managers to ensure their team has the resources they need to improve their overall well-being. A kitchen or breakroom stocked with healthy food options or access to wellness benefits, like discounted gym memberships and meditation apps is a great place to start.
These tips can help ease real estate burnout on an individual level. But, title company business owners can take further operational action, such as investing in technology tools to offload manual tasks, free up time, and give closers a little breathing room during the workday.
Easing job burnout with technology
Does less work translate to less burnout?
But realistically, you can’t change the amount of work that needs to get done, so the solution lies in shifting some of that burden off your plate by leveraging creative solutions—like technology and automation.
For example, the Stavvy platform allows title agents to leverage an eClosing solution to speed up real estate closings and communicate seamlessly with real estate agents, lenders, customers, and more. Depending on the transaction, a compliant eClosing can be facilitated in around 20 minutes and automates manual, time-consuming tasks such as scheduling, annotating, document recording, traveling, printing, scanning, shipping, and more.
eClosing technology can also help solve problems that create additional stress before and after a real estate closing. For example, on a recent Finside Chats podcast, Chuck Cain, Senior Vice President of the FNF National Agency Operations, described the dreaded situation that involves receiving a call from a lender saying, “Hey, we forgot this document. And also, the borrower didn’t sign this other one with their middle initial, so can you get that document signed again?” Similarly, a secure eClosing platform with RON can mitigate the risk of real estate fraud, such as seller impersonation, with identity verification, knowledge-based authentication (KBA), and credential analysis features.
With a solution like Stavvy eClosing, you can resolve these issues much faster and with less employee burden.
Stress will always exist for title and settlement professionals. So it’s not about getting rid of the pressure but dialing it down to make it more manageable by leveraging secure technology to free up time and better support employee well-being and business operations.
Do you want to learn more about the benefits of an eClosing platform? Visit the Stavvy blog or subscribe, and we’ll send you our best tips straight to your inbox.