When I first started my real estate career well over two decades ago, real estate agents did not work from home. They worked in cubicles in offices and shared work space. There wasn’t even an option to work from home.
With the expansion of the internet, apps, email, and dashboards available from the coffee-shop down the street or across the globe, I have watched the industry change dramatically. One of the biggest make-it or break-it changes has been the work from home rage.
Initially I remember agents that worked for me talking about the new office in town and how they allowed agents to work from home. Next came the plea for me to add a work-from-home program which I eventually did to make a point. The point I wanted to make was that working from home was NOT for all agents.
While some agents thrive working from home where they can save time commuting and multi-tasking in the comfort of their own home, others discover they can’t fully focus while working from home. There are always dishes in the sink, laundry that needs to be done, leaky faucets to fix, snacks to fix, dogs and cats that need attention, or personal projects to work on and countless other distractions that can keep any of from doing what we need to do. I have seen many agents do extremely well working from home but I have also told many agents that the distractions at home is costing them tens of thousands of dollars and they need to get back to the office.
So, what is it about working from home that works so well for some and is devastating to others? The answer to this depends a lot on your personality type, your home environment and your workspace at home. It also depends on who is in your home while you are trying to get work done. Personally, on any day that I work from home I must make sure that no one is around to distract me. I even put my dogs in the garage while I am working because even their sweet little faces can distract me.
Is working from home for you? The key is to honestly assess where you are most productive. Real estate is a business that requires communication with clients, private phone calls, and lots of research and paperwork. Ask yourself where you are better able to focus and have private discussions. I have many clients that work from home that realize their children and spouse can cause multiple distractions. These small distractions can slowly add up to a monumental loss of productive work time.
If you are working from home and are finding yourself not as productive as you could be, take a very close look at what happens during the day in your home while you are working. Count every distraction you experience. How many minutes are you losing in a given day to these distractions? Each minute costs you money. If working from home is costing you money, make a change. Make some rules about going to the office X days per week or going to another environment that is more conducive to your getting focused on what needs to be done.
If your office no longer offers a workspace option, there are plenty of co-working spaces that some agents find works for them. You may even consider renting a space for a small amount each month. The key is to find the best fit for you.
Don’t let distractions cost you precious time and money!