As the world becomes more mobile and connected, the need to have a physical location for an office is slowly diminishing. In many of industries offices are vanishing entirely. It’s well known that being a real estate agent afford you quite a bit of flexibility when it comes to schedule and where you work, so it’s no surprise that these phenomenon are all the more true in our field.
Make no mistake, there are certainly benefits to having a physical office, even if you don’t spend the majority of your time there. It provides a place to collaborate with your team and ensure that everyone is on the same page. That said, as everyone is spending less time in the office you can reduce your overhead by operating out of a smaller space that’s outfitted only with the essentials. Design your office around these three essential elements to get the best bang for your buck:
Coffee and Snack Break Area
The need for a full-scale break room has long since perspired, as so many meals are had off site for client lunches or simply on the go to fit in with our busy schedules. You’re still going to need the basics though, things like a water dispenser, a refrigerator, a microwave, and a sink. Of course, for most real estate agents the single most important component will be a way to make coffee. Look into automatic espresso machines that make espresso, cappuccino, latte, and a slew of other drinks in addition to coffee. Your team will thank you. Not only will they save money on trips to Starbucks, they may even look forward to coming into the office for meetings.
Shared Office Space
The days of traditional desks are over. Hardly any agent works from a desktop computer anymore. Most likely they’re working on a laptop, but it’s not uncommon for agents to handle most of their work from tablets or phones either. Rather than dedicated desks for each agent, plan the office with wide, deep tables where agents can come and go as they please. This will allow them to spread their work out and comfortably collaborate when needed. Make sure to provide plenty of outlets so that you charge computers, phones, and other accessories, and spring for a fast internet connection that’s easily accessible by wifi. If you have a little extra space, adding a couple of stand-up desks can be a nice touch that allows people to stay on their feet.
Some conversations need to be kept private, and particularly when meeting with clients it helps put them at ease when you’re behind closed doors. You don’t need a huge meeting room, but a closed off area with a table and four chairs will certainly do the trick. It’s best if you can keep it without windows, or at least out of view of the rest of the office. It will most likely be one of the least used places in the office, but when the need arises you’ll be happy you have it.
Keep it simple and keep it practical. Do it right and you’ll find that you can design a real estate office that not only get the most out of your rent bill, but also makes a more collaborative and welcoming environment for you and your fellow agents.