Time to read: 4 minutes
The Pros and Cons of Working Remotely
It has been just over 2-months since South Africa declared a state of emergency and went into what would later be known as stage-5 of our national lockdown. As a company that prides itself on the ability to adapt to the ever-changing world of property, we saw remote working as an exciting new challenge and one that our team has embraced and proudly taken in its stride. However, as with all things, there are pros and cons to working remotely, and while it has taught us some valuable lessons, the novelty of working from home has certainly worn off for some.
Allows for Real-Life
In the midst of a global pandemic, it’s important to remember that there is more to the lives of both staff and colleagues than what we usually see at the office. For many, the national lockdown meant juggling home-schooling or taking care of family members, all with the usual demands of work and trying to navigate their own thoughts and mental health in response to the pandemic. Flexible working means that staff can move things around to make their schedule work for them, which helps boost company morale, efficiency, and productivity.
With so many people already experiencing the financial pinch because of the pandemic, remote working offers a unique solution to both companies and staff members. For many companies, remote working means less operational costs, as companies can opt for smaller working spaces. While staff benefit by saving both money and time as a result of not having to travel to work each day, while also reducing the impact that we have on the environment.
Being in an office together can often mean that we fall victim to relying on social cues, instead of having more open and direct conversations, but remote working does not allow for this “luxury” and instead, staff quickly find themselves developing new systems and relying on applications like Slack to communicate and stay engaged, which helps ensure that their respective teams stay on track and are aware of everyone’s roles, and deadlines.
Humans are social by nature and while it can be counter-productive, we tend to rely on that time in the staff room, sipping on coffee and catching up with each other as a means of connection. Working from home can be exciting at first, but overtime, it can lead to staff feeling isolated, anxious, and alone, and can very quickly begin to take its toll on everyone’s mental health. Sadly, this means that teams are left feeling frustrated, disconnected, and unmotivated by the lack of interaction that is found in the simplest things like a quick chat over lunch.
Creativity is Limited
Never underestimate the power of a good brainstorming session! For our own sales team, we rely heavily on one another to exchange ideas and make plans. These ideas flow more freely when we are all in the same environment and headspace, without any distractions taking away from the goal we have in front of us. While remote working might have pushed us to be more creative in the way we work, we definitely feel we aren’t always able to think outside the box and miss being able to sit around a table and bounce ideas off each other.
A big draw back of remote working has been that we miss being in a space that we can keep each other motivated and accountable. For brokers, it is especially important for us to push and keep them driven to doing their best and achieving their goals, and although we have tried to do this remotely, nothing compares to being in the office and all working together to meet our goals.
Discovering New Approaches
One of the biggest positives that has come from our team working remotely, is that it has challenged us to discover and try new ways of doing things. Admittedly, it is easy to get stuck in doing things a certain way, just because that is how it has always been done, but the impact of the pandemic forced us to rethink our approach. Communication is truly important in keeping our team connected and motivated, so learning how to use Zoom while working from home meant that we learnt new ways of communicating that does not rely on us all being in the office together. Our new use of Zoom has also meant that we are able to show clients properties that they may be interested in, without them necessarily being present, besides this being ideal during the pandemic it also means that we can continue offering this for clients who are based out of town and can’t travel back and forth to view properties. These discoveries helped us stay on track during lockdown, but they will continue to form part of our approach post-lockdown too.
We understand that things have changed and while we are proud in the way our team embraced remote working these last two months, we are also elated that things are slowly going back to normal. However, we also realise that to pave a new way forward, we will need to find a happy-medium and adapt to the demands and changes caused by the pandemic. For us, it has meant that our admin team will continue working remotely when possible, while also giving our clients the peace of mind and the option to view properties via Zoom, instead of in-person. These are just some of the small steps we’re taking, but as we continue to highlight the needs of our clients and staff, we will continue to adapt our approach, and in time, we will find just the right balance.