Going Back to the Office Doesn’t Have to Be Ugly
While agents and Brokers alike may have fully-outfitted home offices at this point in the work-from-home boom, just how much thought is being given to commercial office spaces?
As of July 2021, nearly 75% of U.S.-based businesses reported bringing employees back to the office. Among them were likely at least a few real estate Brokers and team leaders.
Luckily, if you’re heading up a real estate team, you can help ease the transition from remote to in-office work and create a beautiful atmosphere with just a few thoughtful design choices. Here’s how to make the office work for the whole team!
Rethink the Layout
The first step in overhauling your office space is determining your brokerage’s needs. How many team members do you currently have? What about five years down the line? Do agents work primarily independently, or are small coworking groups the norm? The ideal layout for each brokerage will look completely different, but the right design caters to the team’s unique needs.
If your agents are particularly independent, perhaps doored offices or cubicles are the way to go. Similarly, if agents are out in the field more than they’re at their desks or primarily work from home, consider shared desks or “hoteling,” where they can reserve desks and office space based on availability.
On the other hand, if you have frequent team meetings, champion a collaborative workspace, or otherwise find agents working alongside each other more often than not, an open floor plan or shared flex space could further invite togetherness.
Whatever your team’s tendencies, ensure the new-and-improved office layout can best serve them.
Clutter and untidiness have been shown to increase stress while depleting life satisfaction, overall health, and cognition. Is that the kind of environment you want your agents working in? If not, a little tidying up can go a long way.
As you reorient your team in the office space, implement and enforce a regular cleaning protocol. While you may have previously put some measures in place, cleanliness is even more critical in the wake of COVID-19. Each office space is sure to have its own cleaning policies, but example checklist items for agents might include:
- Use hand sanitizer upon arrival
- Disinfect high-touch surfaces
- Wash any dishes used in communal areas
- Tidy up customer-facing spaces, like front entryways or waiting areas
- Clean personal technology
- File away the week’s papers
- Shred sensitive documents
- Clean out the refrigerator, tossing any old or expired food
While you’re at it, you may also want to implement some office organization practices. Storage baskets, boxes, and bins; drawer organizers, a new-and-improved filing system, cord management systems, and plenty of closed storage can all cut down on clutter and help you manifest a tidy workspace. Not only will agents feel better, but also nothing will distract from your to-die-for design.
Prioritize Natural Light
Regular exposure to sunlight can help boost serotonin, fight depression, and increase overall health. Fluorescent lights, on the other hand, can cause migraines, eye strain, and even problems with sleep. Unfortunately, many commercial office spaces still stick to those outdated and dizzying fluorescent bulbs.
So, when reimagining the office, definitely don’t overlook the power of natural light.
Easy access to windows and adjustable blinds can help agents get the most out of the daylight. If your office space doesn’t have an abundance of windows, or if some team members don’t have access to them, you can also mimic the outdoors with a few strategically placed high-tech light bulbs. When all else fails, try to encourage outdoor lunch hours or team walks around the block! It sure beats sitting under fluorescent bulbs all day.
Incorporate Some Color
White-on-white and layered gray tones are so last year. Instead, opt for at least a few fun shades throughout the office. After all, a pop of color can inspire creativity, positively influence our mood, and promote feelings of calm. Sounds like the ideal office space, right?
For a cohesive and spirited approach, you can thoughtfully incorporate your brand colors. Branded pillows, signs, and even mousepads are always a nice touch.
Or, try your hand at practicing a little color psychology. In this school of thought, different colors are believed to impact psychological functioning. For example, black is thought to emote power and luxury while blue represents stability and safety.
To play around with this concept, reflect on the needs of your team and clientele as well as the impression you’d like to make on anyone who visits. Choose a color that corresponds with and best conveys those thoughts and feelings. Then, explore paint, art, furniture, and finishes in your shade of choice!
Create a Lounge Area
While individual workspaces are certainly the bread and butter of any efficient office space, team members might also appreciate a designated area to relax and connect. In fact, regular breaks from work have been shown to improve physical and mental health, boost motivation, increase productivity, stoke creativity, and improve learning ability. In other words, rested agents are happy agents!
While bean bag chairs, beer on tap, and foosball tables can all inspire office envy, your rest area doesn’t necessarily need to be an expansive, fully-outfitted lounge space. Team members are sure to enjoy a couple of couches where they can sit for a bit and connect, or even just a few plush chairs to make coffee breaks more enjoyable.
Whatever your style, just be sure to prioritize comfort and connection — your agents will thank you.
Lead Your Team in Style
While the transition back to the office may be a bit bumpy, it doesn’t necessarily have to be ugly. By prioritizing agent needs and preferences, along with a touch of aesthetics, you can provide an unparalleled in-office experience, beer on tap or not!
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