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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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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.

Written By

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.

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