Working from home during the pandemic was an easy adjustment for most property professionals, with many saying they were more productive away from the office and felt empowered by the opportunity, a new survey revealed.
Real estate software solutions company MRI Software conducted a survey of 721 residential, commercial and strata industry professionals in April to understand how working from home has impacted them now and into the future.
Key findings from the report incuded:
- Working from home was an easy adjustment: While about 64 per cent of respondents did not have work from home agreements prior to the COVID-19 crisis, adjusting to the concept was quite easy for most. Thirty-six per cent of respondents stated they already had an established working from home arrangement before the pandemic.
- Less distractions increased productivity: Some 54 per cent of respondents felt more productive when working from home and another 23 per cent stated that productivity is more or less the same as when working in the office. A key benefit to productivity was less disruptions and downtime due to socialising with colleagues. Many also found that because commute-time had been eliminated, they had more time to be productive at work.
- Self-discipline key to balance: Self-discipline was an underlying factor in minimising the blur between work and home life now that the physical distinction is not so clear. Based on the survey, more than 50 per cent of respondents said they were working more hours under a work from home arrangement
- The power of choice: For some, the adjustment to working from home was challenging, mostly due to feelings of isolation, but for others it was empowering. Discussing preferences that bring out the best performance of the individual – be it working from home or the office – may be key to greater success overall for your business.
One respondent felt the silver lining from this experience was that they will come out of this much more technologically advanced than when they entered. The need to move to virtual and paperless ways of doing work has challenged the traditional approach to business operations and technology has a huge role to play in enabling this.
Another business owner stated, “I find working from home a lot more productive, and the COVID crisis has made us work better, with new programs we would never have explored.”
For many the question of trust when working from home was raised. Some respondents indicated that employers struggle to trust they are actually working when they can’t physically see them at their office desks.
But their hope is the evidence is now available to prove their productivity is at a minimum the same but in most cases has increased, so rather than the focus being on hours worked it is on outcomes and results.
The survey concluded that working from home full-time in the property industry may not be 100 per cent practical in the long-term, but the power of choice in providing remote working arrangements may just be the recipe for increased employee experience, staff retention and overall productivity.
One respondent said: “To just give the dogs a pat and walk in the garden every so often helps with attitude – happier me, happier landlords, happier tenants!”