Estate agencies should consider providing increased flexible working options including more opportunities for agents to work from home, according to Agent & Homes.
The prime London hybrid agency says that as flexible working becomes increasingly popular across a range of sectors, a similar approach in the property industry would improve efficiency, productivity and staff morale.
Recent figures from the ONS Labour Force Survey, the largest study of employment circumstances in the UK, suggest that more than 1.54 million people work from home for their main job, up from 884,000 ten years ago.
There has also been an increase in the number of people who work in different places but with their home as a base, rising by 200,000 to 2.66 million between 2008 and 2018.
Additional BBC analysis suggests a 74% rise in the number of people working from home over the same period, while a survey of remote work by the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed found that 55% of workers said increased flexibility was the biggest advantage of remote working.
There are a range of benefits for estate agents who take a more flexible approach to working, according to Agent & Homes, which was launched in the summer of 2018.
“Being flexible means agents can work more closely to the needs of the modern consumer, who is likely to be time poor and predominantly available during evenings and at weekends.”
“It therefore makes logical sense for agents to make themselves available at these times, rather than being chained to rigid traditional office hours.”
“We believe there is no point in agents sitting around in dead high street offices all day when they could be providing a more pro-active, hands-on, efficient service at the times that suit their clients,” adds Crowley.
Agent & Homes’ co-founder, Rollo Miles, says that flexible working structures can also help agencies to foster a more positive working atmosphere and improve staff morale.
“Allowing staff to work more autonomously, organise their own schedules and work to their own targets will make agents more motivated,” he says.
“These days, it’s increasingly recognised that it’s important for people to have a good work/life balance with the opportunity to take holidays and time off.”
“Estate agencies should be no different and it’s no secret that a happier team are likely to be more motivated,” Miles adds.
“In order to remain profitable and meet the changing needs of modern consumers, agents need to embrace the flexible working structures adopted by many other sectors.”
“Providing a professional and expert service which isn’t constrained by a high street office or traditional working hours really is the future of estate agency in this country,” he concludes.
Agent & Homes, headquartered in Notting Hill, has an ever-growing team of self-employed property experts who can either work from its centralised hub or from their homes; whichever they prefer.
Its self-employed agents benefit from an attractive earning model where they receive a whopping 80% of commission fees, with the remaining 20% going back to the company to be invested in full support and marketing services for the agents.