“Coronavirus Forces Culture Change in Real Estate,” blasts a recent headline in Realtor magazine. Sadly, the pandemic is causing a culture change in many industries.
One of these changes is the mandate to socially isolate. While many real estate agents would go out of business if they did a 100 percent social isolation, removing yourself from your broker’s Office is a wise move.
We understand that there are many different scenarios that are taking place right now when it comes to working from home. In some areas, kids are out of school (presenting a huge challenge to the work-at-home agent), neighbors are home too, which in many cases turns a once-quiet neighborhood into a busy, noisy mess.
Barring the unique challenges, there are ways to get the start doing real estate work from home. It all starts with setting up your workspace.
We touch on all this and more in a round-table with some of the industry’s top movers – Watch that here
Location, location, location
The location of your office within the home is critical, especially if the kids are out of school. Even when kids aren’t home, distractions abound when you’re trying to do your real estate work from home.
Site the office in the quietest area of the home, well-removed from the main traffic areas and most popular family-gathering spots.
Consider the neighbors as well. If Joe next door is using his time off to relive his teenage years by blasting music, ensure your office is on the other side of the home.
Set up your home office with the right gear
Most of us who have worked from home for a long time know the value of the desk chair. Believe me, if it doesn’t support your back, if it kills your butt to sit in it, you won’t get much work done.
What to look for in an office chair? The folks at GearPatrol.com offer a brilliant checklist and Rodney K. Lefler, DC, walks you through the must-haves in an ergonomic chair at Spine-Health.com.
The next thing to consider is lighting. If you’ve chosen a windowless room, the lighting solutions you choose are critical not only to your productivity but to your mood and your eyesight.
Cornell University Professor Alan Hedge claims that natural light is crucial to productivity and that it cuts down on eyestrain
The bonus to having a window in your office is that being able to view the outdoors helps break monotony.
Consider the lighting in your home office as “akin to dressing for a climate with changeable weather –it’s all about layering,” according to Christine Chang Hanway at Remodelista.com.
You’ll need an overhead light and then add other fixtures in areas of the office where you perform specific tasks. This might include a desk lamp and sconces near the filing cabinets.
Other items to help your body and psyche that you may want to consider adding to your home office include:
- Wrist rest
- Noise cancelling Headphones or ear buds
- Adjustable laptop stand
- Monitor arm
- Smart speaker with voice assistant (you might be surprised at how much Alexa can help out. Get some tips here)
When you’re doing real estate work from home, pretend like you’re at the office
It’s tempting to go from your bed to your office and work the day away in your jammies. Productivity experts, however, caution against this, as does Chris McHale in the latest episode of his In The Lead Podcast.
“Take a shower and get dressed. Treat it like a real job,” suggests Barbara Larson, a professor of management at Northeastern University to Brian Lufkin at BBC.com.
It’s important that the rest of the family, friends and neighbors treat your real estate work from home like a “real job” as well. Set boundaries from the get-go. Here are some tactics other agents have suggested:
- “If the door is closed, I’m working.”
- “If I have my headphones on, please do not disturb me”
- “Just say ‘no.’ No I can’t pick up your child from school. No, I can’t wash your soccer jersey until I’m off work.”
The beauty of the typical real estate transaction is that from shopping for a home to closing can be performed electronically. It may take some time for certain clients to get the hang of it, but remind them that you’re doing your part to “flatten the curve,” and to get life back to normal as soon as possible.
What other effects is COVID-19 having on the Real Estate industry? Take a look at the bigger picture here.
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