Lockdown measures are still in place for another two weeks, at least, with the possibility of them being extended beyond that. Which means the new normal is here to stay for a while yet.
There has been some debate over whether the old normal will ever return, or whether life will be radically different. In our case, I believe meetings with prospects/clients by Zoom should be the norm even once this is all over, as it allows for greater focus and clarity without the need for an unnecessary commute.
Promisingly, newspaper speculation suggests that estate agents might be one of the first high street premises to reopen, but for now the majority of agents across the country are adapting to a new world of working from home, with all the challenges and possible rewards that brings.
With the success of our recent WFH feature in mind, which saw agents send in their pictures, videos and tips of working remotely, I thought it’d be good to put a twist on the ‘Day in the life of…’ series we run every so often in the Natter. And focus on a week in the life of agents in lockdown…
A week in the life of an Estate Agent
Next up, Daniel Bond of Henley-based Bonds Estate Agents. Take it away, Daniel.
Much like our days in the office, Monday mornings begin with a meeting. We are fortunate being a modern estate agent that this technology was already in place, so the transition was not a tricky one. Microsoft Teams is our preferred method of communication for calls, file sharing and instant messaging.
Here, we review the accomplishments and challenges of the previous week and plan for obstacles ahead. Work aside, it’s nice to have a chat with those outside the confines of our own homes.
Most days revolve around talking. Our business is extremely reactive, so client and customer contact is paramount and has proven to be a welcome outlet for others to voice their concerns. As people dedicate more time to online browsing, the value of being responsive is at an all-time high - be that email, customer enquiries or answering calls.
Securing these lines of communication allows us to deliver personalised time and advice. Whilst we may not be able to change circumstances, we can offer encouraging words and a listening ear.
Unsurprisingly, we’ve seen a 38% increase in our enquires and across our social media platforms. To utilise this, we’ve been ramping up our online presence: whether that’s industry statistics, business updates, news snippets - it really varies.
Our customers’ wellbeing is important, so we aim to select diverse and uplifting content. We’ve recently become partners with Henley Lockdown Fest - a virtual festival which aims to ‘bring happiness home’ and this covers all sorts, including DJ sets and cooking demos.
When balancing a 7-day week, it’s important to 'switch-off' when we 'clock-off'. One benefit of our extended opening hours means we have more time for tasks to be completed and can better separate work and play. Of course, incentives help: personally, I look forward to lunchtime strolls with Lola, the office dog, and the first sip of cold beer in the evening.
Elsewhere, Chris Watkin – the well-respected industry analyst who regularly provides superb exclusive video content for EAT – recently posed a question on his Facebook page regarding whether remote working will become the norm. The post received 55 comments, with a roughly even split between those saying yes and those saying no. An interesting topic of conversation that will only get louder in the next few months.
Finally, I’ll leave you with two of the many excellent videos doing the rounds as people get creative during their downtime. First this take on ‘A Horse with No Name’ and second this excellent coronavirus parody of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody.
The team at Angels Media and the ValPal Network also put together a quick video offering some top property industry insights. Click here if you fancy a gander.
Until next time…and stay safe!
*Nat Daniels is CEO of Angels Media, publishers of Estate Agent Today and Letting Agent Today. Follow him on Twitter @NatDaniels.
To read the full article go to www.estateagenttoday.co.uk/features/2020/4/property-natter-a-week-in-the-life-ofagents-in-lockdown