Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, the past few weeks have been a period of upheaval and uncertainty for most people across the country and around the world. Like many other Real Estate teams, you may suddenly be finding yourselves needing to conduct your entire business remotely.
How do we do this?
What will we need in order to make the transition?
Can we keep moving forward with the business while we are working from home?
Our team has been working remotely for the past 5 years, so we’ve had to face and overcome many of the same challenges you are experiencing today.
We know that this transition can require a major shift in mindset, an investment in new resources and tools for your team, and the development of new communication techniques.
But we also know that it can ABSOLUTELY be done.
Here are the 5 main things you need in order to ensure a smooth transition to working as a virtual team:
- The Right Tech – Every member of your team will likely need most or all of the following:
- Internet. Since WiFi may be slower these days with everyone online, we recommend getting an ethernet cable. If you have a Macbook, you might need an ethernet adapter like this one.
- Hardware, such as a keyboard, an extra monitor, and/or a printer.
- A scanner app for your smartphone, such as TurboScan, WordScan, Scanner App or Scanner Pro
- A video conferencing tool, such as Zoom
- A way to receive and track text messages on your computer, such as through Google Voice
- A desk or table so that you can work with both feet on the floor. Weeks of working on the couch could cause some problems for your back, neck, and wrists!
- An Accountability Procedure – Now, more than ever, your team needs a way to track what is getting done. If you are not actually seeing each other work, you might start to worry about whether progress is being made. It is essential that team members and agents know what everyone is working on. This may be done through a Google Sheet or Google Doc, for example, which can be updated and commented on in real-time. At the end of each day, team members should record what they have worked on that day and by the next morning, the agent and/or lead supervisor should be sure to review and respond.
- Connection and Compassion Habits– You should intentionally seek to make connections with team members and with clients every day. This period of “social distancing” actually provides us with the perfect opportunity to truly connect with others. This may mean calling your entire database to ask 2 questions: How are you doing? What do you need? It may mean being available to chat with a colleague who needs to vent or just wants to have some company. You should definitely video conference with team members at least once a week.Leading with your heart will make more of a positive impact than ever.
- A Schedule – Time blocking is always a great productivity technique and it is especially effective when working from home. Breaking your day into blocks of time when you will work on similar tasks provides structure, therefore making you more focused and efficient. Watch this video from small business coach and productivity guru David Breckheimer if you’re unconvinced about the magic of time blocking! We have created sample schedules for admins working from home with children and admins working from home without children. Download and modify them to create your own ideal daily schedule that works for you, the team, and your family.
- Realistic Expectations – Finally, a major factor in the success of your virtual team is having realistic expectations about how much people can get done, especially if they have children at home. You’ll notice our sample schedules reflect the fact that parents working from home may not be able to work more than 6 hours a day. It is important to focus on results, rather than the amount of time that people will be available and working. It is quite possible that team members and agents will be able to get just as much done in less time without the distractions that arise in the office. And even if this is not the case, showing compassion and understanding during this period will translate into having team members who are more invested than ever in the success of the business. To set yourselves up for the greatest success, we suggest having a conversation about what your standards and expectations are for each other while working remotely. Use this Telecommuting Agreement and this Telecommuting Policy and Procedure from HR consultant LeiLani Quiray of Be the Change HR in order to document your expectations.
Enduring the trial of going virtual together will make your team even closer. Embrace this challenge as an opportunity for team-building and team-strengthening!
For additional resources to help you through the current crisis, check out our COVID-19 Tools & Resources for Real Estate Teams by clicking here. We’ve compiled links to relevant podcast episodes, recorded coaching calls, Facebook groups, websites, email templates to clients, and more! We are here for you.
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