The world of work is changing. It’s as obvious as a pelican’s beak or a pink render on a beautiful Victorian terraced house. Remote working was already on the rise before the pandemic. And now, thanks to Covid-19, commercial landlords are beginning to fear the worst. Could this be the end of the physical office?
Fortunately, we don’t think so. Although cloud-based communications platforms and project management software make remote working easier, estate and letting agents will still need their offices for years to come. Here are ten major reasons why:
1. Offices generate new business
Your office is a permanent advertisement for your agency. It puts you front of mind and generates important footfall. People love browsing available houses in agents’ windows. And every so often a casual browser will wander inside, register as a customer, and end up making one of your advertised properties their home.
Offices are particularly important for customers scouting out new areas for the very first time. They like to pop in and have a chat – not online but in the flesh – with an agent who tells them all about the local market and what their money might buy.
2. You’ll build relationships
There’s nothing like meeting people face-to-face. The best agencies get to know their customers so they can understand their individual needs better.
Your office is the best place to do this. It’s integral to how agents meet new people, establish relationships, and create repeat business down the line. You can’t tell the cut of one’s jib from a simple phone call.
3. You’ll be trusted more
Your office is the physical embodiment of your company. It shows you’re established and, whisper it quietly, indicates your status or financial position. Nothing screams success more than a plush office in the heart of town.
Companies without a physical office risk being perceived as fly-by-night. A nice office, on the other hand, instils confidence in your partners, associates, and customers.
4. Offices are digitally secure
Whilst the cloud itself is secure, and online communications tools are notoriously hard to hack, remote workers can occasionally put your data and network at risk. This is because multiple people often use home laptops.
Sadly home computers don’t have the same rigorous firewalls and security protocols as office terminals. What’s more, conversations in coffee shops or shared working spaces are more easily overheard. Offices, meanwhile, are safer than houses.
5. Collaboration is easier
Digital collaboration tools are wonderful. There’s no denying that. But nothing beats talking to people in person without buffering or connectivity issues. Collaboration is so much easier when your team are in the same room.
An agent’s office is a hive of activity. Your team can be spontaneous and bounce ideas off each other without having to schedule in calls. That’s got to be great for business.
6. Camaraderie is better
Remote working might be convenient, but research shows that people miss the companionship of an office environment. The friends you meet at work are often friends for life, or at least for 5 days of the week.
Offices give colleagues the chance to bond and socialise. They’re great environments for teambuilding and help your people to feel invested in your business. This increases job satisfaction and productivity.
7. Offices are productive working environments
Not everyone can work from home effectively. Whilst some people slip comfortably into their dedicated home office every morning, others have to find space on the hoof while their kids horse around. It’s hard for them to work productively as a result.
Office co-workers all enjoy the same conditions: a desk, a computer, and hopefully some peace and quiet. Bliss.
8. Employees develop faster
Offices also provide better environments for professional development. Junior members of your team can ask questions, see how senior negotiators work first hand, build relationships with more experienced colleagues, and learn on the job. This can only benefit your agency in the long run.
9. Office culture can shape your agency
Offices provide estate and letting agencies with a central hub: a place where colleagues and customers can come together. It also gives you a chance to build a culture, identity, and way of working.
Potential customers and partners will see this in motion when they visit your premises. It’s a great way to make a good impression, win new business, and drive your agency forward.
10. The pros outweigh the cons
Although offices have their drawbacks – commuting is a pain and running costs can be expensive – ask yourself whether you can afford not to have an office, considering the advantages above.
Property is all about people. It always will be. So having a physical space where your team can work in unison is priceless.
The bottom line is that your agency’s physical office is invaluable for both your team and your clients. So it’s safe to say that the industry’s office romance will continue for the foreseeable future.