Although the debate about what is “right” in terms of the future of office space lives on, allowing employees to be flexible can be a game-changer, resulting in higher productivity and fewer HR issues.
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Some say building a substantial business requires human interactions with deep connections. But how does an office space or location factor into that? I believe that as leaders of the future, we have an opportunity to take a stance, adapt to our changing global climate and create spaces and places for our teams to thrive that may be, quite literally, “out of the box.”
Recently, our Southern California luxury boutique brokerage went through a significant shift and transition. We went from five offices in 2018 to three offices in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic. The change happened because real estate agents were already ahead of the curve by working remotely.
Then 2020 arrived, and we abruptly realized that the number of square feet we still occupied in several locations was worth reviewing. This is where the concept of Launch Pads was born. We envisioned a place where agents could go that was equipped with all the resources they needed and the latest technology to help them get more done in less time within four office walls.
Developing the dream flex space for busy agents
Think shareable private offices, a conference room, an outdoor workspace and even lockers for quick and efficient storage of personal items, all wrapped into a space no larger than 3,000-5,000 square feet.
These “launch pads” with smaller footprints and their intentional amenities allow brokerages to have more office locations in a given area, which means better accessibility for agents and minimized drive time to and from the launch pad when needed — another way this concept maximizes time and elevates efficiency. For this model to be scalable, consistency is vital.
High demand, easy-to-use features
The concept keeps entry access the same for all agents at all offices, so if you need to drop into an office, you don’t usually visit, the experience is nearly identical. The printers are in the same place, the paper is in the same place, grab-and-go marketing materials are readily available throughout, and a knowledgeable staff member is available during business hours to assist. Even the snacks and drinks are similar at each location.
We noticed a large number of agents were stopping into the office for core reasons, such as printing, meetings or mailboxes, so we focused on making those items easy and super accessible.
The Wi-Fi passwords automatically connect as you walk into the building, and power for laptops is readily available at each individual workplace, should you need to set up shop for a day. The goal is to make agents feel comfortable and at home in their work environment, no matter where they need to get work done.
Is this ‘right’ for your team?
Although the debate about what is “right” in terms of how the future of office space should look still lives on, I believe that allowing employees to be flexible is a game-changer and will result in higher productivity and lower HR issues.
Our brokerage is already reaping these benefits. The future of workspace is here; the only question that remains is, how are you going to respond to it? There is no time like the present to step into the future.
Kristine Everly Smith is the chief marketing officer at Surterre Properties. Connect with her on LinkedIn.