While many real estate agents frequently work from a home office, safer-at-home guidelines during the pandemic drove everyone out of the communal office and the corner cafe to set up shop in their residences. For real estate agents, who generally spend a lot of time networking with clients, potential clients, and agents in and out of their brokerage, working at home requires adapting to new routines while simultaneously upgrading their office setup.
To productively work from home, real estate agents may want to take the following steps:
1. Carve out a workspace. An essential element of working from home is to set up an actual place to work — especially if you have others in your household working there or attending school virtually. If an office with a door isn’t an option, try to create a corner of a room where you can focus.
2. Upgrade your internet. High-speed internet is essential, particularly if you're sharing documents and photos with clients and other agents. Your need for speed will be impacted if you have students learning from home. Consider upgrading to a business-level internet service when your Wi-Fi is being shared simultaneously in your home. Updating your router may also help boost your internet speed.
3. Increase your security protection. Do a quick check to make sure your cybersecurity software is up to date since you may be sharing more sensitive information from your home computer than in the past. If others need to share your work computer, make sure you set up a separate account to secure your work files.
4. Invest in technology. Working from home today still requires you to look professional. Invest in a webcam for video, a microphone for audio, and a ring light to brighten your virtual meetings. A good headset also can make phone calls and video chats easier and help keep background noise to a minimum.
5. Use your customer relationship management (CRM) program. Your CRM can be even more vital now if you're not seeing as many people in person. Effectively taking advantage of your CRM system can help you manage your time and keep you on track with tasks when so many of your routines have changed.
6. Develop productivity strategies. Without the structure of office hours, it's up to you to decide how and when to work. Use your schedule to block set times to pursue new leads, respond to emails, preview homes and manage documents to increase your productivity. Try to do your most complicated or creative work when you are at your best — whether that’s in the morning or the evening — and when you are less likely to be distracted. Try setting a timer and answering emails and phone messages after an hour or two of focused work. Creating a detailed daily to-do list is also a must.
7. Establish work-life boundaries. Working at home can make it easy to slip into working all the time, but for your physical and mental health, you need to take breaks, go for walks and schedule time when you're not working. Also, try to avoid booking virtual calls back to back, as too much screen time can be exhausting.
8. Keep networking. While the office may be closed, you can still stay in touch with your colleagues and keep up with market insights. Proactively making phone calls, sending text messages and emails, participating in virtual meetings and scheduling video chats and virtual events can keep you connected.
Working at home can be beneficial to your professional and personal life when you take the time to develop the new systems you need for success.