Redefining the Relevancy of Workspace in Real Estate Brokerages
Create better workspaces for what your agents want and what your business needs.
Real estate professionals are independent contractors. For many, the huge perk of running their own business is being the boss. A broker-owner or office manager can encourage, request and even beg a sales associate to come to the office, but there is nothing that forces them to come in unwillingly. For many broker-owners, there is no reason to force a sales associate to come to the office.
Peter Crowley, broker and co-owner of RE/MAX Alliance Group, shared that about half of his 300-person sales force in Sarasota, Fla., works from home and the other half works in the office. Crowley said that, “some agents need the office to feel productive,” but that all sales associates have paperless options and don’t have to come into the office. He admits that it is harder to get people face-to-face due to technology, but that food and drink are still the common elements that bring people together to create camaraderie and collaboration. RE/MAX Alliance Group periodically hosts training or social events to keep the sales force engaged.
Mobility is a Perk
Sales associates who don’t want or need to come into the office is a perk for some companies. Of the 520 sales associates at Your Castle Real Estate in Denver, Colo., President Charles Roberts estimates that 75 percent of them never step foot into one of the seven offices each week. For those who do come into the office, they are likely there about an hour or less each week, unless they are attending training. According to Roberts, he and others in leadership would rather see their sales associates out of the office working with new or established clients. That’s not to say that Your Castle Real Estate doesn’t provide workspace. Roughly 6 percent of their sales force has a designated office, and the remaining sales associates have professional drop-in space available.
Rural and Urban Office Challenges
Logistics may also play a part in whether or not a sales associate makes it to the office on a regular basis. Sales associates in rural or urban areas face similar challenges in accessing office space; a lengthy commute to the office may not make sense given the sales associate’s schedule for the day. Michael Golden, co-founder of @Properties in Chicago, Ill., said that most of the 2,100 sales associates are in one of @Properties 20 office spaces for 10 hours or less a week, but that sales associates in urban offices tend to spend less time in the office. Golden shared that they encourage people to spend time in the office—the leadership team thinks it is important—but they don’t force it.
According to REAL Trends’ study, Redefining the Relevancy of Workspace, the percentage of sales associates who spent 10 hours or less a week in the office increased as the size of the market increased. Seventy-five percent of sales associates in small markets indicated that they spent more than 20 hours a week in the office. Molly Iversen, a Realtor® and part of the leadership team at Coldwell Banker Hedges Realty in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, said that of the 100 sales associates who work out of their two locations, the regular users spend about 35 hours a week in the office. For Coldwell Banker Hedges Realty, the sales associates who spend more time in the office have higher sales volumes than those who work from home.
To read more about the correlation between the productivity of real estate professionals based on their interaction with broker provided workspace, go to https://www.realtrends.com/research/redefiningworkspace