Is the rising popularity of working from home the greatest cultural shift in modern history? Or is it a potential career buster for employees?
Working from home can improve your work/life balance as you cut out your commute, eat healthier food at home, and have more time for exercise or family activities. Working from home can also destroy your productivity if you haven’t created boundaries around your work hours. Suddenly you have 100 new ways to distract yourself. Do you need a snack? Does your dog need to be let out? Is your sister calling just to chat? Then the workday is over and you haven’t finished a single thing on your to-do list.
You can be a successful work-from-home real estate agent if you set some firm boundaries and intentionally create an atmosphere that fosters productivity. This article covers tips for home-based real estate agents and includes networking ideas for agents who are no longer working from an office.
There’s something magical that happens when you put pants on every day. It sounds crazy, but it’s a scientific fact. The term enclothed cognition is the scientific description for the idea that wearing the right clothes not only makes us feel better but also leads to greater work output. Even though you can conduct most of your business on the phone and in virtual meetings, getting dressed in professional clothes can shift your mind into work mode and help you focus on your daily tasks.
Fake the Work Commute
Many people who’ve embraced work-from-home culture were delighted to shed their long commutes. However, psychologists have discovered that the work commute previously operated as a transitional period that helped employees create boundaries between their work and home life. Rather than stumbling down the stairs and heading toward the computer to start the workday, home-based employees have begun implementing fake commutes into their workday to establish a boundary between their two worlds.
At the beginning and end of each day, former commuters are taking ten to thirty minutes to walk around their neighborhoods, drive to a coffee shop for their morning brew, bike the same distance as their previous commute, or just engage in some quiet time listening to music or podcasts. Then as they enter their home office space, they’re able to focus more completely on their work tasks.
Create a Dedicated Office Space
Do you ever find yourself standing in the pantry doorway snacking even though you weren’t looking for a snack? Unconscious triggers can cause you to engage in unintended behaviors. You can use those same unconscious triggers to your benefit by creating an environment that tells your brain that it’s time to pick up the phone and call some clients.
Resist the temptation to work from the bed or the couch, and instead set up a dedicated office space.
- Upgrade your internet connection to handle the additional video calls, webinars, and downloads that require additional bandwidth and will increase your data consumption.
- Invest in a better office chair; comfort should matter more than style.
- Purchase additional hardware or software, such as another computer monitor or a customer relationship management tool (CRM).
- Be conscious of your background, and rearrange furniture if needed – a messy room as a backdrop can detract from the conversation during virtual meetings.
Learn Time Management Skills
Distractions can cost you valuable time.
If you want to supercharge your productivity, intentionally block out chunks of time and dedicate yourself to work tasks inside those periods. Try turning off email notifications, phone notifications, and social media alerts so that the constant pings don’t shift your attention away from your task. Don’t forget to take regular breaks away from your computer. Getting up and walking around will reset your brain so that you can return to your desk ready to tackle the rest of your daily projects.
Be Intentional About Connecting
It’s possible to strengthen your real estate network from home, as long as you purposefully plan to reach out and connect with other Realtors®, investors, buyers, sellers, and business owners.
Today there are even more ways to virtually meet interested homebuyers and sellers. Just remember to give great advice and avoid spamming other participants.
Pro-tip: Try attending webinars, joining local Facebook groups, commenting in the sections of local pages, and connecting in the chat section of a Zoom meeting.
Realtor® conferences can be powerful tools to build out your connections, but when you attend in-person events that aren’t centered around real estate, you’ll have even more opportunities to meet potential clients who may not already have a real estate agent.
Pro-tip: Consider coaching youth sports teams, joining community 5K runs or participating in charity events.
Meeting other business professionals who can plug you into their network can dramatically expand your reach without significant effort on your part. As you build relationships with business owners and entrepreneurs, you can become the go-to real estate agent they recommend to all of their clients.
Pro-tip: Join your local chamber of commerce, find a BNI chapter, or pay for a mastermind group to connect with a larger network.
Stay Up on Technology
Working from home wouldn’t be possible without technology. New social media platforms and CRMs make your at-home work easier. Agents who are early adopters of new technology will have a competitive edge against other agents who are still relying on pen and paper to track their leads. Whether you pay for a subscription to Inman or take a marketing course from HubSpot, agents who keep abreast of new marketing techniques and trends will never see a slow down in leads.
Go to Bed On Time
Without a set schedule or a time clock to punch, work hours can bleed into family time. In turn, you may find yourself staying up late to catch up on last-minute tasks that you never finished during the day. Repeated non-adherence to a firm schedule will wreak havoc on your productivity. At a minimum, by committing to bedtime you’ll put a final deadline on your day so that you can give yourself time to rest and start fresh in the morning.
The Bottom Line
More than ever, employees and entrepreneurs are leaving behind the office and embracing the work-from-home lifestyle. They enjoy the flexibility provided by at-home work and appreciate the increase in personal time and savings. Real estate agents who are transitioning to an at-home office can enjoy these same benefits, and with careful attention to boundaries and networking opportunities, they can thrive in their home office.