EYE poll: Has the pandemic accelerated a shift to a new way of working?

Covid-19 has imposed a ‘new normal’ for estate agents and letting agents, many of which have had to adapt quickly to the world of remote working.

We know the pandemic has affected everyone in different ways. But we are trying to establish what impact the crisis has had on you and the industry as a whole. Will recent trends become a ‘permanent normal’?

Let us know by taking part in this industry poll:

 

This poll is no longer accepting votes

This poll closes at 7pm on Friday 30th April 2021
Are you working in:
Is your branch office:
Compared to pre-pandemic (i.e. March 2020) does your office have:
Compared to pre-pandemic (i.e. March 2020) does your office have:
Pre-pandemic most estate agency offices were open all day Monday to Saturday with reduced hours opening on Sunday. Compared to then is your office now open:
Currently, what time does your weekday work normally begin:
Currently, what time does your weekday work normally end:
Are you currently working:
Does your team currently hold morning meetings:
Where are your morning meetings held:
Thinking about your job security which one of these statements is true:
x

Email the story to a friend

More top news stories



22 Comments

  1. AlwaysAnAgent

    The bedroom bandwagonners with virtually no income and a business that turns over less than minimum wage will be celebrating this poll by shouting “we were right all along, home working is the way forward! The pandemic has saved us!”

    Meanwhile, the office stalwarts will be dusting down their shiny brogues, waistcoats at the ready, fired up with endless energy and ideas from self-help books, ready to throw open their front doors and unleash their social skills on unsuspecting passers by. With the door unlocked, may I add!

     

    I’m in the second camp although I will “change” by using Zoom for more meetings and to save time and money. I run a business that is real, and has real turnover, and I don’t know about you but I quite like working in a team alongside my group of friends and colleagues. And, we make money.

     

    Report
    1. BillyTheFish

      We left our office a year ago and guess what, profit is up because we are not lumbered with an office. No commute either so guess what, more time for home or work.

      I think it really depends on your circumstance and actual verified walk-in vendors/landlords. If you are in a prime location, get loads of walk ins and they cover the annual office rent/exp then happy days. If it does but that business is less than the office rent/exp then the office is making a loss so maybe it’s time to consider your options. If it doesn’t bring in anything you don’t need to be Einstein to figure out what to do, unless you like working 7 days a week.

      A recent survey of 2000 landlords on PIE showed that only 34% found their agent on the high street. My bet is it will be a bit lower next year…

      Report
      1. forwardthinker

        Yes I’ve been in the industry since 1998. Launched on my own November 2007. Moved from a serviced office to a High Street position because the opportunity was too good to be missed £7500pa. Then we expanded into next door a corner unit £12000pa. Although we are on a High Street, walk-ins are rare and usually they’re tyre kickers.

        It’s taken a while to shift from the traditional offering, but I do really believe now the market isn’t bothered whether you have a shop front or not. Just finished a major refurbishment of our office designed by MPL Interiors. If you are going to have a shop front it has to be impressive looking because that’s what they are now. Pretty much just billboards for the business.

        The pandemic has precipitated change in the industry and it’s positive because we’re stubborn old bunch in the main that doesn’t welcome change too easily.

        Certainly noticing some of the older more established brands are struggling to evolve with the times

        Report
        1. Woodentop

          A billboard it certainly is, but it is the professional stance of the people inside that matters. Customers like to see who it is and confidence that is dealing with their very expensive transaction, not some idiot. Take a board count and see who is getting business!

          Report
          1. forwardthinker

            Agree mostly, particularly with quality and presentation of the people inside. Board counts not necessarily though. In this area which suffers from the prevalence of fly-boarding

            Report
            1. Woodentop

              Board count is not necessarily actual boards but helpful to see who its getting the street exposure. I was generalising with stock and street exposure to effective business between shop and bedroom agents.

              Report
      2. Happy Daze!

        It’s not just about the walk-ins and business. It’s about the mental health of the staff!! Wfh in my opinion is harmful to your well-being. It’s isolating, un motivating and just frankly depressing day in and day out. Me and my staff need a base to go to, get the job done efficiently and go home leaving it behind. There will be a lot of mental health issues as a result of people being forced to wfh I fear….

        Report
  2. forwardthinker

    The pandemic has shown me there is need for the office too be open until 6pm/7pm.

    We now close officially at 5pm and respond to anything remotely.

    Much better all round!

    Report
  3. GudeHG

    Looking forward to seeing the results of this poll.
    We have always worked flexibly, but since the pandemic we’ve missed regular office meetings. I think it’s all about balance, isn’t it?

    Report
  4. Woodentop

    The pandemic has shown that we had to adapt for the moment. The changes made does not make the industry efficient and anyone who thinks that remote working is truly effective for many industries is deluded. Who are you kidding!

     

    A business will over time respond and develop due to the demands and needs of their customers, typically over decades. As a service industry who has no control over its stock of properties, its customers are looking for service and all that can be done. Over the last decade the High Street estate agent has proven itself time and again, even after some very expensive and concerted efforts by those disruptors that offer the service on the cheap and on-line only AND FAILED. Meggar £’s spent and gone bust.

     

    95% of the industry still wants the High Street agent for so many reasons, that working remotely cannot provide and seen to be hidden from view/availability in a people to people business. It is an undeniable fact that the argument for working from home, has nothing to do with service but cutting costs and offering less service.

    Report
    1. Colin Adiuvo

      Surely the biggest argument for WFH is providing staff with the flexibility and attracting and keeping those staff by offering the ability to work multiple days (not all) remotely/around family and other responsibilities?

      Report
    2. BillyTheFish

      ‘95% of the industry still wants the High Street agent’ – based on what survey?

      Your high street office works if it generates enough client walk ins to at least break even on it’s exp. So instead of making up stats to back up your position why not verify the source of each client for a year and then give your informed opinion. It could save the business in a decade’s time.

      Report
      1. Woodentop

        Hello BillyTheFish where have you been hiding. So many reports (including on PIE) over the last few years confirm that on average 95% of the housing market has stayed with the traditional estate agent and only 5% share with on-liners only. You need to get out and read more often.

        https://www.statista.com/statistics/756919/high-street-vs-online-estate-agents-market-share-uk/

         

        Report
  5. gardenflat

    A shop front is no longer required IMO but an office base is, especially so for lettings with tenants signing up and contractors collecting keys etc.

     

    If you can combine both and not pay over the top for the privilege then win/win. Bedroom agents have to spend all of their time out without being able to invite anybody in and that does affect business.

     

    The problem with the bedroom agent is that it isn’t scalable. There will be a ceiling limit!

     

     

    Report
    1. AcornsRNuts

      Bedroom agents? How snobbish of High Street agents. Nothing wrong with online agents in Sales or Lettings.

      Report
      1. htsnom79

        I agree, bedroom agents is inaccurate, box room agents would be more more accurate or perhaps cupboard under the stairs agents….

        Report
        1. BillyTheFish

          Bedroom agents is a term used by those who are blinkered and set in their ways. I call them dinosaurs and we all know what happened to them.
          A year in and profits are massively up thanks to no office outgoings and a % of the household bills are tax deductable also, including mortgage. Imagine if you could help your staff like that, a great benefit of employment that the younger gen will appreciate to help ends meet right? 
          I liken these types of divides to driving and cycling, skiiing and snowboarding. Both parties dislike the other, often due to lack of knowledge & understanding. When you have expierinece in both you have an informed opinion and can also understand the reasoning of the other side much better. 
          We pay a company to look after our keys in town and all paperwork has been signed digitally for the last 6 years so no-one needs to sign in the office. I had no idea anyone was still doing wet signing!!
          At the end of this WFH year the businss won an award for customer services which is what lettings is all about at the front end. And that was all done remotely.
          No office banter of course, how important is that to the business really? We only work with similar types of people and trust the work will get done much like an office based employee, so far so good. Everyone just gets on with their job and enjoys being at home. No commute into work or back which reduces emissions and provides more time for work or even better family, personal, sleeping, whatever – life. 
          To me it seems the world has changed, we changed with it. After over 20 years working in offices we will not be going back to that albatross around the neck thanks. 

          Report
        2. AcornsRNuts

          You have just proved my point. Perhaps instead of snobbish, I should have said immature.

          Report
          1. htsnom79

            lol, as I often say to clients..
            ‘ try and keep your sense of humour ‘

            Report
            1. AcornsRNuts

              Ha! Ha! Ha! Just broke another rib laughing!

              Report
              1. htsnom79

                uh oh, that’s you screwed for the next six weeks then, maybe you could send the missus or the kids round to measure up while you convalesce 😉

                Report
                1. AcornsRNuts

                  Never assume (makes an ass out of u and me) my marital status and my fertility.

                  Report
X

You must be logged in to report this comment!

Comments are closed.

Thank you for signing up to our newsletter, we have sent you an email asking you to confirm your subscription. Additionally if you would like to create a free EYE account which allows you to comment on news stories and manage your email subscriptions please enter a password below.