It’s been more than a month since President Rodrigo Duterte declared the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) in Luzon to eradicate the local transmission of COVID-19. This policy forced all schools and companies to temporarily shut down to prevent the spread of the virus.
HousingInteractive followed this policy. All of our brokers are currently working from home while HousingInteractive tries to continue its work of fulfilling the real estate goals of its clients.
But how does the pandemic affect HousingInteractive’s brokers?
Business as Usual, But Limited
“This work-from-home policy affected my productivity negatively because we have limited movements to be done such as the viewings of the properties,” stated Mafel Gubatan, HousingInteractive’s Property Consultant.
Real estate is not just about calling clients. So much of it is dependent on also personally visiting the properties that you’re endorsing. Strict community quarantines and enforced social distancing make this aspect of the business impossible.
“We cannot accommodate the clients personally,” says our partner broker, Michelle Casas. “That’s the first step where you can assess if your clients have potential.”
An Unexpected Adjustment Was Needed
With the advent of this unexpected pandemic, businesses have had to adjust their calendars to suit this massive interruption. Our brokers are no different.
“This outbreak affected my projections and goals for this year unexpectedly,” says Mafel. “We have to adjust our timelines again and exert more effort so that we can at least reach our goals for real estate before this year ends.”
Even though cases continue to rise as the pandemic extends, HousingInteractive’s brokers are all doing their best. From shifting their plans to effectively executing them, our girls make the necessary adjustments as they work from home. There’s no doubt that HousingInteractive is lucky to have a team who’s so keen to achieve company goals by EOY.
HousingInteractive Gives Advice
Not all industries have been prepared for the sudden virtualization of its offices. Here are a few tips to help with this #newnormal.
1. Stay Consistent Even If You Work In a Different Setting
Working from home may be an invasion of your personal life as the lines between work life and home life start to blur. How to keep the distinction?
“I always keep myself busy by getting in touch with my clients and owners of the properties like what I usually do,” Michelle shares. Business as usual — just in a different setting..
2. Create Daily Goals
Visualize your day. Start by mapping out your day with a list of goals. Delineate professional tasks that need to be accomplished before the end of the day. Then, outline personal goals, too. Don’t let yourself go! Take up a new hobby, finish that novel you’ve been meaning to read, exercise through the many virtual videos online (or sign up for a virtual class).
Don’t forget to reward yourself with every accomplished goal!
3. Try to Dress-up!
Some people manage to stay productive in their pajamas. Some people need an extra push.
“I believe in power dress-up!” chuckles Mafel. “Even if you’re at home, just put on a nice top and you’ll feel as if you’re working at the office.”
4. Maintain Your Work Hours
Time management gets harder when you work from home. Many are tempted to work less — many are tempted never to stop working! When you decide your own hours, it’s crucial to improve your time management skills.
Our girls have discovered that emulating their office schedules is a big help. They log on and off at the same times they would report for work at the office.
“Do your work-from-home the same way you’re doing work-at-office,” shares Mafel. She recommends waking up at the same time as before during office-based times.
5. Learn To Be Comfortable
Fix your space! You take pride in your desk at work. You post motivational quotes on sticky notes, you put pictures of your family. You invest in a good pillow that helps you maintain proper posture. By all means, get creative with your space. You’ll find that a good desk, proper lighting, and an optimized space all contribute to increased productivity.
6. Replace Lunch-Breaks For Chores
Again, you control your own schedule, which means you can take a break as long as you want. Don’t break your momentum! Lying down and zoning out to your favorite series breaks the momentum you established in the first half of the day. Get up and get active. Get some exercising done, get some sunshine in the garden, or do your chores.
Developmental psychologist, Dr. Dona Matthews, believes that doing chores helps you to persevere and be more productive. Accomplishing many small tasks, such as fixing your bed, dusting, and washing the dishes can give you a boost of confidence.
Besides, a stack of dirty dishes is not only unsightly, it’s unhygienic. Clean houses ward away the coronavirus much better than dirty houses!
7. Keep In Touch With Your Co-Workers
“How’s your task today? How many clients did you call? How’s the property so far?”
Keep in touch with your colleagues. Check in on them. Motivate one another. This check-and-balance keeps the team from slacking. Help keep your colleagues’ morale high.
Sound tough? Download Zoom, Hubstaff, Slack, Trello, or any other productivity-based apps. They can help.
WORK FROM HOME: THE PROS AND CONS
Mafel shares the pros and cons she has discovered during 5 weeks of working from home:
1. No Travel, No Problem
“We have more time to be productive since we don’t have to face traffic anymore!” Mafel smiles.
Find the discipline and time management inside yourself to accomplish more, now that you don’t have to battle insidious amounts of traffic. Furthermore, the stress felt from bumper-to-bumper cars has magnificently disappeared.
2. Safe Environment
“You’re protected at the comfort of your own home,” she adds. “You don’t have to worry so much about having face-to-face contact with people who might be infected by the virus.”
Disinfect your homes regularly, and observe proper hygiene. Soon, the curve will flatten, and things will go back to normal. You can pat yourself on the back by having followed the rules — and escaping without contracting the virus, or spreading it to others.
3. Easy Calls
Staying at home allows you to control your time. Allocate more time to building rapport with your clients and property owners.
“You get to update your client even more because this is a good time to catch up with them, not just to offer or sell the properties, but to just know how they’re coping with the pandemic,” Mafel quoted.
4. More Time For Listings
Lastly, it’s easy for the brokers to make listings since they know that inquiries will increase post-pandemic. This is why HousingInteractive’s brokers exert more of their effort in determining the best properties for a listing so that they are prepared for the pandemic’s aftermath.
“I believe a lot of people will start inquiring again once this pandemic’s over,” Mafel says. “In this work-from-home period, we can prepare the best listings to offer them and assure them that even if there’s a pandemic going-on, we have listings to show them (when it’s over).”
1. Limited Movements
It’s hard to assess potential clients since you can’t meet them personally. You have the listings ready, but you have no way to tell if your clients have the potential to actually purchase the property.
Real estate is time-bound. Unfortunately, with viewings postponed until after the pandemic, clients can visit the properties. Any transaction has therefore been delayed.
“Since we have limited movements, all the viewings are on-hold,” says Mafel. “We’re just going to save-up the names of our clients who wanted to do a viewing once the whole quarantine period is over.”
2. Can’t Determine When The Pandemic Will End
Of course, no one knows when this outbreak will end. Even the World Health Organization can’t determine the outcome of this horrible incident. Without an end, how do we justify the means? How do we run a race with no finish line in sight?
“We have no idea when this whole pandemic period will be over, so we need to learn to discipline and motivate ourselves more,” Mafel believes. “Even if we’re not doing face-to-face interactions, we must find ways to ensure that our clients will stick with us.”
Looking At The Bright Side
Even though the pandemic has badly affected the real estate industry and its workers, it has taught them how to stay productive as they transition to a less structured work setting. Employees realize the value of time, and discover ways how to maximize their time to produce better results.
“I also think that employees will realize the value of time even more,”says Mafel. “In this set-up of work-from-home, employees can now see the time saved and put into productive use versus the time consumed in traffic on the way to your work.”
Looks like traffic has always been a big problem for the real estate industry. How will the traffic situation look post-pandemic? Only time will tell.