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Op/Ed

Is the real estate industry shifting into a shared work environment?

With brands sharing spaces with one another and offices looking more like living rooms than sterile desk spaces, is the industry shifting into a shared space environment?

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starbucks

Several years ago, we talked about the concept of hoteling for offices; now it seems more and more entrepreneurs are going in the direction of shared or multi-purpose space.

Even at the 2014 Tom Ferry real estate summit in Anaheim, Intero’s own Gino Blefari proclaimed, “even if you don’t want to go into your office, go into a coffee shop and make it your office for the day.” In real estate, we call this power stacking appointments, where you have intentionally set your meetings with several people in one location.

The idea is that you have the ability to do work remotely; this way,  you get the opportunity to potentially make more new connections, and you get to soak in the ambiance of a new location – that isn’t the office! Remax’s Home Happy Group owner, Kristin Stone, mentioned during a chat a couple of weeks ago that she would much rather have a meeting in an aesthetically pleasing location where she could commune over a glass of wine and make her clients feel as if they were amongst friends.

Not all vibes are created equal

Of course, not all office environments give off this homey vibe- so why not switch it up a bit and meet in public places or a nifty, homey space that lends towards delivering that emotion in the client? Of course! Many shared spaces have a funky, fun living room space that is impactful in this exact way; it screams we are a hip, talented group and we know how to serve you because we understand how to make you feel comfortable.

The Arbour Realty office (where I work) is in the heart of the Orangle Line district of Arlington, and is not a shared space; however, it is an office which is set up like a living room. It invites new clients in in a way that makes everyone feel like they are at home. If a conference room is needed for more privacy, that is wholly available, yet not always needed.

I typically only meet my clients at the office for our initial meeting, and most meetings thereafter are at local cafés, Blefari style, of course, this is gauged in the clients’ comfort level and the privacy needed for specific conversations… I recently read about a cafe in New York City where the space is more like a studio, and its multipurpose usage and design lends towards an art gallery and open concept for sharing ideas and then some.

Gone are the days of the typical single use… Enter the new deal and the real estate agent who needs to be sitting behind a desk exits stage left. Beta brokerages are popping up everywhere and places such as Arbour, and the NYC cafe are giving clients that extra feeling of extraordinary care, sexy sophistication, and technological savviness (just take for example DIGGS broker Kendyl Young who essentially has an art gallery as the fascia of her company’s offices).

Real estate is changing, as is the office format

Whether you are hoteling in a shared space, power- stacking in your favorite coffee shop or just have an amazing office space that evokes the feelings of home and confidence, real estate is definitely changing and the way that realtors and entrepreneurs in general deliver information to their client has shifted. This is especially seen in the office format.

So, does this format attract a different type of client? More than likely. The traditional client who desires the office. The brick and mortar office style may not be accustomed to a shared space, a multi-purpose, gallery-style office, nor the cafe stacked meeting office scenario; however, the savvy, new generation of buyers will warm up to this shared office concept. It may just so happen that many of the more savvy buyers are probably just as comfortable working with an agent who has a shared space as they are in the traditional style office.

How does your team call into place in a shared work environment?

Well, as I sit half-way around the world at Cafe Ortolana, while my transaction coordinator, assistant and sales team help keep my sales on track, I’d say plugging in wherever there is wifi, while still managing to get things done is a “high-five” moment.

The bottom line is making sure you have the right people in place, who are able to work on their projects whenever and wherever. In real estate, we all know that time is of the essence and it doesn’t matter if you are writing a contract on the fly or from a cubicle, as long as you get it done and your clients remain the focus throughout the process.

Shared spaces, plugging in wherever you are able, and keeping the focus on your client so they know they are your primary goal – keeping them taken care of, no matter where you are – that is the shift in the business world.

Genevieve Concannon brings business savvy, creativity and conscientiousness to the table in real estate and social media, marrying marketing and sustainability while setting herself and Real Living at Home apart from the masses. She is a hardcore sustainability nerd, even founding the well known Green Drinks events.

Op/Ed

To do list methods that maximize productivity, lower stress

(EDITORIAL) Even if you have a to-do list, the weight of your tasks might be overwhelming. Here’s advice on how to fix the overwhelm.

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To-do list in a journal with gold rings.

If you ask me, there’s no better way to unwind and ease everyday stress by making a to-do list. Like they said in the movie, Clueless, “It gives [you] a sense of control in a world full of chaos.”

While that quote was specific to a makeover, it certainly applies here. When you have too many things on your plate, making a to-do list is a quick way to get yourself in order. Typically, this does the trick for organizing your upcoming tasks.

It’s important to determine what method of listmaking works for you. I personally like to use sticky notes around my computer monitor to keep me in check for what’s needed to be done work-wise or by use of my computer. Other personal task items will either be kept in a list on my phone, or in my paper planner.

For work, I have a roster of clients I work with everyday. They each have their own list containing tasks I have to complete for them. I also use Google Calendar to keep these tasks in order if they have a specific deadline.

For personal use, I create a to-do list at the start of each week to determine what needs to be accomplished over the next seven days. I also have a monthly overview for big-picture items that need to be tackled (like an oil change).

This form of organization can be a lot and it can still be overwhelming, even if I have my ducks in a row. And, every once in a while, those tasks can really pile up on those lists and a whole new kind of overwhelm develops.

Fear not, as there are still ways to break it down from here. Let me explain.

First, what I’d recommend is going through all of your tasks and categorizing them (i.e. a work list, a personal list, a family list, etc.) From there, go through each subsequent list and determine priority.

You can do this by setting a deadline for each task, and then put every task in order based on what deadline is coming up first. From there, pieces start to fall into place and tasks begin to be eliminated. I do recognize that this is what works for my brain, and may not be what works for yours.

Leo Babauta of Zen Habits has some interesting insight on the topic and examines the importance of how you relate to your tasks. The concept is, instead of letting the tasks be some sort of scary stress, find ways to make them more relatable. Here are some examples that Babauta shares:

  • I’m fully committed to this task because it’s incredibly important to me, so I’m going to create a sacred space of 30 minutes today to be fully present with it.
  • This task is an opportunity for me to serve someone I care deeply about, with love.
  • These tasks are training ground for me to practice presence, devotion, getting comfortable with uncertainty.
  • These tasks are an adventure! An exploration of new ground, a learning space, a way to grow and discover and create and be curious.
  • This task list is a huge playground, full of ways for me to play today!

Finding the best method of creating your to-do list or your task list and the best method for accomplishing those tasks is all about how you relate and work best. It can be trial and error, but there is certainly a method for everyone. What are your methods?

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Op/Ed

Want to move past your burnout? Stop using multiple lists

(EDITORIAL) How my evolving understanding of “burnout” helped me learn an important distinction between being busy and being productive.

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too busy to burnout

When I used to hear the word “burnout” I would picture the freaks from the gone-much-too-soon series, Freaks and Geeks, as they would bum around outside, smoking in between classes. Now when I hear the word “burnout,” I think of myself a few years ago as my brain was being fried by life.

I wasn’t smoking between classes, rather running around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to figure out how to manage all of my tasks at hand. I’d make a to-do list, see everything I had to do, and drown in overwhelm.

I’d spend my days fretting over how busy I was, and nights catching up with friends via phone, talking about how busy I was and how there just wasn’t enough time in the day.

Notice that nowhere in here was I actually doing anything productive. I fell into a vicious hole of being so consumed with how much I had to do, I wasn’t taking the time to do anything but stress.

At first, it made me feel interesting and somewhat important that I had so much going on. I quickly realized that no one cares and it’s not that interesting (I also quickly remembered how much I love to just relax and not have something planned every day of the week).

This is where I learned the of the most important lessons to date – being busy does not equal being productive.

It got to a point where I was running on fumes and eventually had this epiphany that how I was operating was doing nothing to help me. This was in part brought on by seeing someone close to me behave the same way, and I was able to actually look at how defeating it was.

From there, I made it a point to change my tune. Instead of wasting time writing and re-writing to do lists, I challenged myself to make one master to do list and accomplish at least one item upon completion of writing the list. This helped shake off the cobwebs and I was able to feel a bit of weight off of my shoulders.

The ideas surrounding the hustle mentality had me so consumed and all I was doing was hustling my way to nowhere. After feeling the burnout, seeing someone else operate that same way, and seeing that hustle mentality mocked, I was finally able to break free and get stuff done.

And, guess what? I have even more to do now, but feel more calm and collected than ever. I just have to repeat the mantra: Being busy does not equal being productive. Being productive – especially in silence – is so much better and much more rewarding.

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Op/Ed

How any real estate pro can become more assertive

(OPINION EDITORIAL) Being assertive is not the same as being bossy and while most people tell women to be more assertive, lack of assertiveness isn’t gender exclusive. Here are a few tips how to make your presence known.

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assertive broker meeting negotiation team

Merriam-Webster defines assertive as “disposed to or characterized by bold or confident statements and behavior.” I believe assertive behavior is the balance between being passive or aggressive.

You aren’t demanding, but you’re not dismissing your needs either.

Women are often told that they need to be more assertive, rather than passive, and men need to be less aggressive. I’m more of the opinion that assertiveness isn’t gender-specific. I believe every person needs some assertiveness training.

While I may not be an expert in assertiveness, as a freelancer, I have learned to be more assertive. Here are a few of my observations:

  • To be assertive, I had to stop feeling as if my work was unimportant. Call it confidence or self-esteem, but it was a definite turning point for me. I stopped using the word, “just.” I didn’t apologize for bothering people. I simply began stating what I needed to get the job done.
  • I defined what assertive meant to me. For me, it was the ability to stand up for my opinions and needs. This didn’t happen overnight, but it took practice. One of the key things I did was to try and be more assertive in other places, like when I volunteered. That gave me the confidence to stand up for myself in my work.
  • I use “I” statements. “I need to take next Monday off.” “I need more information about this project.” “I cannot do that this week.”
  • I’ve found that part of being assertive is taking the other person at their word and not holding a grudge. Don’t read more into their emotions than what is being discussed. Just because my co-worker hated the last idea I had shouldn’t stop me from exploring new ideas with the team.
  • It is very difficult to change old behaviors. I have mentors and coaches that I talk to about my successes and failures. This has helped me figure out what I’d do differently if I had the chance. Trust me, it isn’t easy to be introspective about the time you blew it, but it’s been very beneficial in all the areas of my life.
  • I’ve apologized when it was appropriate, but I don’t beat myself up, either. The other day, I missed one part of an assignment. In the past, I would have not taken any more assignments as punishment. Instead, I apologized that I missed it and fixed the assignment. Then, I took another block of work and moved on. It was freeing.

Being assertive isn’t easy. But it is very rewarding.

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