We asked our Victoria Perkins for her perspective after attending the recent Bisnow 'Women Leading Real Estate' event in London.
1. Victoria, you attended this event last year, were there any key differences in terms of what was discussed this year?
I believe many of the key messages last year came through again this year. One thing that stood out to me was how the development of technology, (not just emails and phone calls but more recently social media platforms) has made it harder to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Technology has blurred the boundaries between work and home making switching off difficult.
2. What were the hot topics that you identified?
Diversity within the work place and time frames were the key topics that stood out to me.
Diversity can make a business more successful (as well as challenging current or previous stereotypes), it expands the market. Having more women in the Real Estate Industry is one key factor, but so is having people of different ethnicities and backgrounds.
There is evidence to suggest that without diversity a business will generate a stagnant appetite for risk and has the tendency to fall into ‘group thinking’. Increasing diversity can lead to a variety of perspectives and enhance creativity and as a result make a more successful business.
The panel discussed work-life balance. This is something that is constantly spoken about but the idea of how you assess it isn’t. The fundamental point of this is that the work-life balance is different for everyone. Looking over a particular time frame can help you work out if you have managed to get this balance to a healthy level.
It is hard to judge whether or not you have this balance if you are only looking over a short period (such as a day/week). It has to be looked at long term.
3. What or who did you find to be really inspiring and resonated most with you?
Diversity within the work place is something that I think a lot of businesses want to achieve. There continues to be a gap between what leaders are talking about and what the real life experience actually is.
Education plays a key part in establishing this, both from a grass-roots level but also at a higher level from within a company. The seminar debated that until implementations are put in place at the top (for example Government Legislation) it will take longer before we see any change. Whilst legislation may make a change, I believe that educating people on how differing opinions, views, genders, races, cultures and backgrounds can help benefit the Real Estate Industry would be the most effective method of seeing this change really take place.