There's no doubt the pandemic has changed the way we work, and the perceived role of the office as a place from which all activity revolves has gone. Organisations were forced to fast-forward to enable an environment where employees could be just as productive working from home. This biblical shift smashed the idea that offices are critical for productivity and collaboration and has many benefits for employees.
However, now that the dust has settled, many organisations are reintroducing compulsory days in the office. So, what does the office of the future look like for the real estate industry, and what model is right for your agency and team?
Real estate is a people business, and you must hire the people who will make your business thrive. It's essential to consider the unique environment you want to create and the types of people you want to attract, keep and inspire.
This means designing an environment that supports your team's needs and helps them be the best versions of themselves at work. This might mean creating a hybrid model that supports remote and in-office working. It offers the best of both worlds and allows employees to work wherever they want, when they want. Expecting new employees to work full-time from an office may narrow the field in terms of talent.
The physical real estate office is still essential – clients need to see evidence of your brand in an area to feel like they can trust your local knowledge and expertise. But it's also necessary for your team to have a place to come for collaboration. For so long, the office has been where all activity revolves, the place where we get most of our stuff done. But in the pandemic's wake, it's about redesigning the right environment for a team that may only be there on certain days. You might consider redesigning the office to have more collaboration spaces, hot desks, and meeting rooms for clients. You could even consider downsizing office spaces. One of the many benefits of a hybrid working model is that you can scale your workforce up or down easily, depending on market demand.
Technology is constantly evolving. It's becoming more and more accessible and cloud-based, allowing us to work wherever we want. This means that we can work from home, in the office, on the beach, and anywhere between. Real estate companies are at the forefront of the new way of working, adapting their technology environments to improve productivity on the road.
One technology that has seen a lot of traction in the industry is marketing automation and CRM systems, helping you manage all the different aspects of your business, from your response rate to clients to your automated marketing messages.
The benefits of remote working have been widely debated and are many and varied. For some, it's the ability to set their own schedule, such as juggling parenting responsibilities. For others, it's the flexibility to take a break when they need to and plan their schedule to have more of a work/life balance.
However, working from home also comes with drawbacks, including increased distractions and, in some cases, interruptions (think small children bombing Zoom calls). There's no denying that when you're in the office, you're meeting face-to-face with other team members and collaborating and sharing ideas in those moments between meetings, where sometimes the magic happens!
The model that has worked well for many agents is a hybrid working model, which combines remote and in-office working elements. This model supports flexibility for employees and face-to-face interaction and collaboration. Hybrid working is particularly suited to real estate, where agents often need to be on the road and in the office. For example, you could decide to work from home on a Monday and then commute into the office for a full day of meetings and calls on a Tuesday.
In a hybrid working environment, you can support agents in the field to work from home when needed and then bring them into the office when there's a need for face-to-face collaboration. You can also use the in-office environment to bring together your agents for a day of workshops and team building, keeping them feeling connected and motivated.
The benefits of a hybrid working model are plentiful. By encouraging a flexible working environment, you can ensure that you're attracting and retaining the best and most talented agents. You can also foster a culture of creativity and innovation by encouraging employees to work from wherever suits them best. This enables you to tap into a wider talent pool and allow employees to enjoy a better work/life balance. Happy, productive employees can meet clients' needs - and happy clients means a thriving agency. Is it time you braced the hybrid work revolution?
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