Long before the coronavirus pandemic, the real estate industry was on the front lines of developing ways to work remotely.
Real estate agents, loan officers and titling companies were ahead of the curve touting technology and online tools to accommodate clients and advance their businesses.
The pandemic took the concept and put it in hyperdrive across every industry. The debate over whether machines may someday take over our jobs is rather passé today. Fact is, we need those machines now. And we need to know how to use them effectively.
Decades ago, remote work had a bit of a negative connotation. Most employers believed their workforces would be too easily distracted working at home. They wanted workers in the office, fostering personal connections and collaboration. And where they could keep an eye on them.
However, teleconferencing and telework technology have advanced to the point where some businesses thrive with completely remote teams. Technology affords us the ability to get the same job done, no matter where in the world we are.
Most studies show no falloff in productivity among remote workers. According to a recent survey, they work 1.4 more days per month than in-office employees, or nearly 17 days per year. Keyboard monitoring shows office workers are unproductive for an average 37 minutes a day - not including lunch or breaks - whereas remote employees are unproductive for only 27 minutes.
Additionally, remote workers save significant time and money by avoiding a long commute.
Remote workers also report improvement in communication and tech skills. Without the direct support from other departments, workers are motivated to utilize more technology - leveraging social media and instant messaging to maximize efficiency and cultivate databases.
Working from home will likely play an increasing role in sales, marketing, and human resources.
In the long run, fighting change may do more harm than good. Many employees now expect remote work opportunities. According to the survey, 57% of current remote workers would take a 10% pay cut to continue working from home.
While these stories and statistics may encourage both employees and employers to implement a work-from-home program, there are some reported drawbacks. Remote employees say having all that flexibility often fuels higher stress levels and more difficulty finding work-life balance.
Ultimately, working remotely can be effective, but must be put into practice on a case-by-case basis. It may not be the best situation for every employee or every business.