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How post-pandemic work-life will be different

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) There are a lot of changes going around, but one has to wonder, once COVID-19 is taken care of, what will work-life look like going forward?

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Remember that time you asked your boss to work from home and they said, no. Maybe they provided some random excuse, ahem I mean reason, such as it wasn’t part of the culture or your role didn’t allow for remote access, or that was only allowed for senior staff.

Well now, if you are still employed and have an office job, you are most likely working from home. Booya!

Aside from the First World complaints I’ve read on my Facebook feed regarding work-life from home – the birds are singing too loud, the construction workers are too loud, the landscapers are too loud – most people are handling working from home (sans pants) pretty well all things considered.

In no way am I saying it’s been easy. If social distancing weren’t a thing, people would probably be enjoying working from home even more than they are right now. (Us pet owners know the doggos and cats are pretty excited.)

If you have taken the time to reflect during this time as I have, and which I highly recommend, you have probably considered this question: What do I want my future work-life to look like after the pandemic?

Just as some people are realizing they are ready for a divorce after spending time cooped up with their partner, who they now realize is not who they thought they were. I’m guessing many employees are considering if they want to continue their relationship with their employers and what is next. Now is the time to ask: If I could do anything and nothing was stopping me, what would I do? YOLO, right?

These types of questions can be challenging to consider when it feels like the world is imploding. Without checking yourself and your head, it’s super easy to feel fearful and worried. That’s completely normal. But, remember this: Everyone, almost everyone, is facing this new and unknown normal. Some folks have more resources at their disposal, sure. But, let’s consider all things being equal, we are all living in uncertainty. We were living in uncertainty before the pandemic and we will be after. So, now is as good a time as any to say, “If not now, when? If not me, who?”

While we consider what the world may look like and whether we decide to skip town, move to an island and start learning to surf, there are some predictions about what work might look like.

Over at Forbes, contributor Tracy Brower made some predictions about what the future of work could look like.

Companies will provide more support to employees.
Companies have had to take a holistic look at providing support for employees’ body, mind, and spirit. Also, they realize an engaged worker is a happier more productive employee. There will be more support for mental health. Isolation breeds mental health issues and it’s fair to say that employers who may have ignored mental health in the past will be more receptive to employees’ needs.

Leadership will improve. The poor, crappy leaders will be weeded out and those who are able to step up – and who maybe weren’t in top positions – will rise to the occasion.
Company Culture will become a real thing. No more filing TPS reports on the weekend Peter. Brower says it’s likely company culture will become important, as leaders realize its critical to engagement and employee performance and engagement.

Working well with others is likely to improve. Going through a crisis as a team is sure to build stronger bonds. There will be more understanding and acceptance of the challenges employees’ have managing work-life balance, especially now that everyone has had to work from home under strange conditions. And, inclusivity and diversity will be more welcome in the workplace.

Technology and the workplace will be better. Employees will have a better understanding of technology (we will never forget poor Jennifer) and it will make work-life easier now. Bosses should also treat their staff better. Things like office cleaning and comfort will be more important. I mean, after working from your couch that broken-down office chair that’s been around since 2004 isn’t going to cut it.

Corporate approaches will improve. Bureaucracy will go by the wayside, innovation will expand, and businesses will become more flexible.

Employees get a do-over. Unemployment is high. “During these times, companies have had to reassess critical jobs, expand definitions of responsibilities and explore new boundaries for key tasks. With such fundamental shifting of jobs and the way they’re designed, career opportunities will abound,” Brower says. And, every business will be a “start-up” because they will all be starting over in a new environment and wanting to re-establish themselves. It will also be a time of opportunity for new businesses and there will likely be an influx of new business and new ideas.

Interested in how life might change post-pandemic? Politico compiled 34 big thinkers’ predictions on the future of our world.

Regardless of what the thinkers think and the predictors predict, we can safely say life and work-life will be different. How that looks is TBD. As we move through this time, maybe a dose of Ferris Bueller could help us all.

Mary Ann Lopez earned her MA in print journalism from the University of Colorado and has worked in print and digital media. After taking a break to give back as a Teach for America corps member and teaching science for a few years, she is back with her first love: writing. When she's not writing stories, reading five books at once, or watching The Great British Bakeoff, she is walking her dog Sadie and hanging with her cats, Bella, Bubba, and Kiki. She is one cat short of full cat lady status and plans to keep it that way.

Real Estate Marketing

Twitter considers adding paid “premium” subscription

(REAL ESTATE TECHNOLOGY) In a bid for relevance, Twitter announces their intent to pursue exclusive, paid “premium” features.

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Most people would probably agree that paying for social media isn’t a choice they would make, but Twitter makes a compelling case with their announcement regarding premium accounts.

Twitter, a social media platform with a pretty tumultuous history, is considering implementing a paid premium access feature–and, while premium access wouldn’t be required in order to continue using the platform, it seems that Twitter has packaged quite a few desirable upgrades into that “premium” tier.

Whether or not Twitter plans to add premium accounts in the near future is still unknown, but some users have encountered a survey that asks for feedback regarding paid features. Among those features are custom background colors and fonts, an “undo send” option, the ability to upload longer videos, and even an option to see fewer ads.

Many of these features are cosmetic–for example, freedom to add a Twitter-curated badge that identifies you or your company–but some of them do serve the purpose of making premium account owners more powerful on the platform. Being able to upload longer videos is clearly an impactful upgrade, and Twitter’s survey even mentions a tweak wherein business members would be able to access a premium member’s account in a limited, secure manner.

Another aspect of premium accounts could include a “menu” of responses that companies could choose from, making customer service and outreach that much easier.

With the addition of these latter three features, premium accounts could become prime real estate for small businesses and online-based firms–something that has traditionally been more of Facebook’s forte.

It’s prudent to note that nothing is confirmed as of now, and the features listed in the survey may not appear in the final iteration of premium accounts even if premium access is added to Twitter in the future. However, it does seem inevitable that Twitter will roll out some form of premium subscription given that they both hired a team specifically for a similar feature, and mentioned their intention to move forward with subscription options to investors.

Twitter hasn’t exactly been a cash cow as of late, and with many of the social media platform’s initiatives falling flat in the past, no one has been expecting much in the way of growth from the irreverent bird app. A premium subscription for even a handful of users might be the push Twitter needs to become relevant again, both to users and advertisers.

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Real Estate Marketing

Why you should quit using ‘no-reply’ emails immediately

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) No-reply emails may serve a company well, but the customers can become frustrated with the loss of a quick and easy way to get help.

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Let me tell you a modern-day horror story.

You finally decide to purchase the item that’s been sitting in your cart all week, but when you receive your confirmation email you realize there’s a mistake on the order. Maybe you ordered the wrong size item, maybe your old address is listed as the shipping location, or maybe you just have buyer’s remorse. Either way, you’ve got to contact customer service.

Your next mission is to find contact information or a support line where you can get the issue resolved. You scroll to the bottom of the email and look around for a place to contact the company, but all you find is some copyright junk and an unsubscribe option. Tempting, but it won’t solve your problem. Your last hope is to reply to the confirmation email, so you hit that trusty reply arrow and…nothing. It’s a no-reply email. Cue the high-pitched screams.

Customers should not have to sort through your website and emails with a microscope to find contact information or a customer service line. With high customer expectations and fierce ecommerce competition, business owners can’t afford to use no-reply emails anymore.

Intended or not, no-reply emails send your customer the message that you really don’t want to hear from them. In an age when you can DM major airlines on Twitter and expect a response, this is just not going to fly anymore.

Fixing this issue doesn’t need to be a huge burden on your company. A simple solution is to create a persona for your email marketing or customer service emails, it could be member of your team or even a company mascot. Rather than using noreply@company.com you can use john@company.com and make that email a place where your email list can respond to questions and communicate concerns. Remember, the whole point of email marketing is to create a conversation with your customers.

Another great strategy for avoiding a million customer service emails where you don’t want them? Include customer service contact info in your emails. Place a thoughtful message near the bottom of your template letting people know where they can go if they’re having an issue with the product or service. This simple change will save you, your customers, and your team so much time in the long-run.

Your goal as a real estate practitioner is to build a trusting relationship between you and your customers, so leave the no reply emails behind. They’re annoying and they might even get you marked as spam.

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Real Estate Marketing

Boomerang Kids and a shift in the American family

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) Millennial student debt combined with the effects of the pandemic is causing a whole generation to move back home.

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The last decade has seen a significant shift in expectations for the young adults of America. In the early 2000s, a shift started for people coming out of college – those wracked with student loan debt, those getting job offers with limited starting salaries, or those getting unpaid internships to get their careers started. I remember personally having to go through thirty interviews in 2009 during a recession, just to get a basic position in the oil industry. It left me scrounging to make ends meet while also paying my student loans. Luckily, renting from friends and living in a house with three roommates allowed things to reach an equilibrium with finances. Living in a house full of friends became a new normal for many other individuals who couldn’t rely on someone else’s income.

Others however, took a different tact and moved back in with their parents. This action became so common in the 2010s that they were named the “Boomerang Generation”. Now, due to the pandemic, this trend has seen an increase. According to The Atlantic, “A recent analysis of government data by the real-estate website Zillow indicated that about 2.9 million adults moved in with a parent or grandparent in March, April, and May”.

Moving back in with family allows for a number of a mix of inconveniences and perks. One of the main perks includes being able to pay off loans without having to worry about rent or even bills in some situations. A Twitter post by a young privileged woman brought about a great deal of rage from her generation: She was able to pay off six figures in student debt in five years by moving in with her parents but when she decided to let people know about it through social media, she definitely went about it the wrong way – she called out people like it was simple logic to have your parents let you move in and also have them pay for all your bills, while you devote your entire salary to paying off your loans. A more unreasonable demand I hadn’t heard up to that point.

This latest economic depression has certainly forced untold numbers of people to revert to moving in with loved ones even more. And it’s not just millennials. To facilitate survival within family units, siblings of multiple generations are coming together. This shift in family dynamics will probably have a large impact on housing availability and costs in the future.

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