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MindsMatter Action: Sotheby’s International Realty Canada

With October featuring Mental Illness Awareness Week, World Mental Health Day and Canada’s Healthy Workplace Month, better workplace mental health is top of mind for many organizations. CivicAction reached out to organizations to see how they’re taking action. Read what Sotheby’s International Realty Canada is doing in this Q&A with Polly Cordwell, Managing Broker. 

A headshot photo of Polly Cordwell of Sotheby's International Realty Canada

Polly Cordwell, Managing Broker, Sotheby’s International Realty Canada

Tell us about a change your organization is taking to improve workplace mental health.

Over the past year we’ve created a Mental Health in the Workplace (MHITW) Committee comprising of employees and Realtor(R) independent contractors from our organization. The committee includes volunteers from many different offices across the country.

How is this change positively affecting your workplace culture or your employees’ attitudes to mental health?

By creating a committee we were able to develop a MHITW Policy for our organization and set clearly defined goals of what we wanted to achieve. It has helped to encourage discussions about mental health and remove the stigma around discussing these challenges, especially in the workplace.

Are there plans for more actions to come?  

Our committee will continue to meet quarterly via video conference to discuss new mental health initiatives that can be introduced at our offices. Each office will have the opportunity to come up with initiatives that will work for them based on their office size and structure.

What does good workplace mental health look like to you?

Since implementing our committee, the following initiatives have been undertaken to improve workplace mental health:

  • Our MHITW policy document was shared across the country

  • A list of mental health resources for employees (including benefit information) and free resources that our independent contractors can also access were shared across the country

  • Local offices have held different activities to encourage team building, charitable work, physical fitness and other initiatives that help to promote positive mental health

  • Mental health tips were shared via office newsletters including exercise, meditation and other solo activities that anyone can undertake when they have a few minutes to spare.

  • Video office meetings were introduced to help satellite agents feel more connected to the office.

Anything you’d like to add?

The real estate industry is known for being fast-paced and stressful, and when agents are impacted this has a trickle down effect on office staff as well. Without support many can suffer from substance abuse problems or other mental health challenges that can wreak havoc on their lives. We wanted to create an environment to help both agents and staff feel supported through these stressful times.

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