Remote working, whether from home or from a shared or co-working office, is fast becoming the new norm. Even large multinationals do it: Apple, Google and Microsoft all offer their employees flexible schedules. In fact, it’s become so popular that a global survey by office space provider Regus found 54% of people work remotely for at least 2.5 days per week.
At E&V, we’re firm believers in the power of the remote office for freelance agents who have to adjust their schedules to their client’s flexibility.
A good remote office is designed for your working habits, so it can and should be adapted to your needs. That could mean a quiet home office where a closed door means little ones can’t wander in and out, or a hot desk in a bustling co-working space in the city centre – wherever you work best.
Once you’re in, take some time to get your setup right. If you’re working from home, make sure there’s a clear understanding of when you can and can’t be disturbed. Setting boundaries early will save you trouble later.
Workers from a broad spectrum of businesses and sectors overwhelmingly agree that the two main benefits of the remote office are increased productivity and a better work-life balance.
As real estate agents are used to working flexibly and are self-organised, on a long term basis it should be possible for them to work from anywhere. The right infrastructure for the remote office provides the agents with the perfect conditions to arrange appointments with clients, time to be spent in the office for preparations, acquisition and post-processing and things to be done in their private time. The right framework thus helps to establish the possibility to react promptly and flexibly to their client’s needs and keep a good work-life-balance.
Try a listing tool such as Wunderlist and an online calendar like Google’s to sync your schedule across your devices. Don’t forget to schedule breaks though; just because you can work from anywhere, doesn’t mean you should work everywhere.
While it can feel a little lonely at times, a truly productive remote office shouldn’t feel too remote. You should be connected to the essential assets, tools and support networks of the rest of the business. For that, you’ll need fast, reliable internet access, a trustworthy computer and a decent cloud-based sharing system.
Connecting with your colleagues can be as simple as signing up to a project management system like Slack or Trello. These allow you to chat, share ideas and store documents and creative assets like images or videos. With these tools you are able to coordinate your schedule with everyone else who is involved as i.e. your assistant. A visualisation of your schedule also helps you to focus on your priorities.
You can always use simple storage systems like Google Drive if you need more space. Your colleagues and assistants are able to access data without you having to send it out which saves you a lot of time and effort and speeds up processes.
Possibly the most common shared feature of the remote office is its capacity to evolve and adapt. There are always fresh innovations making it easier, more effective and more efficient to work from anywhere. Nowhere is this more true than in the real estate industry.
Virtual property viewings, for example, are a great way to bring property to your potential purchasers. They offer the most in-depth online viewing experience and ensure you stand out from the competition. So whether you're adopting augmented reality advances or other smart tech, be ready to adapt and thrive.
If you’ve set yourself up sensibly and put those personal and digital structures in place, you’ll have every opportunity to reap the rewards of a remote office.