One of the marvels of the mobile age is that real estate agents and brokers can now work from practically anywhere. In many cases, modern technology makes it possible for you to work just as efficiently from home as you could from a more traditional brokerage office.
It can be more convenient to work outside of normal business hours for both and your clients, and a home office makes that easier. But having your work so close at hand can distract from time spent with your family. And of course your chores, pets and family can distract from your work!
If you’re an agent who chooses to do business from a home office, here’s some advice to help you make sure that it’s time well spent.
Designate a Work Zone
Choose an area in your home with minimal distractions where you will do the majority of your work. Sitting on the couch in front of the TV is probably a bad idea. Working from the kitchen table is doable, but a dedicated desk is better.
You will feel more at peace if your work is contained within a designated area of your house, especially if you can shut the door behind you when you need to “clock out.” As they say, out of sight, out of mind – at least until you remember that email your forgot to send or that client you need to call.
Stock up on Healthy Snacks
It’s easy to lose focus when you wander into the kitchen looking for a treat. It’s even easier to do if it’s your kitchen. I-just-need-a-quick-bite frequently turns into let’s-try-that-new-recipe and even oh-I-should-clean-out-the-fridge. Talk about a time vacuum!
Keep healthy, ready-to-eat snacks like protein bars, almonds and fruit near your desk for a quick energy boost when your blood sugar is getting low.
Use Web-Based Software
Save time by using web-based software that you can access from any Internet-enabled device. This is especially important if you divide your time between a brokerage office and home office.
Instead of having to load software onto multiple machines (and pay for the licenses), you can use whatever is most handy. Point2 Agent is web-based and browser agnostic so our users can check up on prospects, update listings and check emails from anywhere.
Find a Mentor
A mentor will help you find new solutions that you might not think of on your own. Establish a relationship with a broker who has been in the business a long time. Utilize that person as a sounding board and ask them for opinions based on their experiences. Planning a monthly coffee date with your mentor will get you out of the house and recharge your batteries.
There is no reason you can’t have multiple mentors. It might also be good to connect with another professional who works from home, like a bookkeeper or a writer. You can establish a mutual mentorship and swap ideas for how to stay driven in the home environment.
Schedule Social Time with Other Agents
Since you will not be interacting with your peers in the office, you need to think of other ways to stay in the loop. Fellow agents are great resources for learning about new technology and market trends, as well as picking up neighborhood gossip. Set aside time at least twice a week to stay in touch on social media, and don’t forget to rsvp to any and all get-togethers organized by your brokerage or MLS.
Secure a Co-Working Space, Just in Case
If your brokerage does not offer conference rooms that you can reserve, find a co-working space you can use for important meetings or interviews. These communal offices have spaces you can rent by the day, week or month, stocked with all the classic office amenities (and sometimes much more).
Having a professional, off-site office that you can use as a safety net will give you peace of mind when clients want to meet asap and your house is looking more “lived-in” than you’d like.
Tell us: do you work from home or a brokerage office… or both?