How important is your office space to your company’s culture?
Easy question to ask, very difficult to answer. How does one quantify the effect of the space they work in, in relation to their very success or failure?
Companies such as Facebook, Yahoo, Twitter and any number of start-ups that are vying for the young, talented and intellectual crowd know that office space is critical to success. It becomes not just about the work, but also the environment where they work – a greater experience all around. And, if you do it right, you’ll begin to see how office design makes an impact on your bottom line.
Is it possible to apply that same thinking to your real estate office? Now, you may not have ping pong tables, cafeterias, child care, dry cleaners, etc., in your office, but you can surely improve the space itself to make it feel less clinical and more comfortable.
Can the space you inhabit improve your business and change your culture?
We believe so. Recently we made the decision to move our Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Sonoran Desert Lifestyles office. What we wanted to achieve sounded simple, but more difficult to achieve.
Our goals were to:
- double our space,
- reduce our costs by 40-50%,
- establish a more convenient location,
- improve team culture, and
- improve the client experience.
Most of these goals are pretty black and white – increase space, reduce costs, etc., are all basic needs and fairly easy to do if you’re willing to put in the time and energy. But what about improving the client experience and team culture?
Improving the Client Experience
We believe this goal should be first and foremost in the minds of anyone making a change in their office. Our specific office specializes in the Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Distinctive Collection® Luxury market tier, so it was our goal to create an inviting space that matches the look and feel of the Distinctive Collection – more luxurious than a normal real estate office might feel.
As the saying goes, you only have a few moments to make a first impression. Although our office is situated in a commercial center, upon entering you feel as though you just stepped into a luxurious living room, filled with cushy leather seating and high quality flooring, paint, lighting, art and fresh flowers. We take great pride in offering an assortment of snacks, soft drinks, coffee & espresso all while you listen to nice soothing jazz music. If you’re going to take the time to come to our office in person, we sure want to make sure you are comfortable enough to stay as long as you’d like.
You’ll also find we stayed true to an open concept behind the reception area where our affiliated agents are encouraged to interact with each other, spend time with each other and learn from each other.
Their success is our success, and we’ve listed their successes on the wall for all to see.
Improving the Team Culture
What we have found is that if you focus on improving the client experience, you will also improve your company culture. So often we forget that our clients aren’t the only ones to visit the office. Our affiliated agents step into our office daily, and they want and deserve a greater experience as well.
We no longer host meetings with our agents – instead, we host Happy Hours. Also, we no longer schedule events, plans, meetings in private, they’re on the calendar for all to see.
The practice of inclusiveness of our office has made a world of difference in our agents’ attitudes and willingness to participate and be present.
You can see the rest of our office here – it’s been an exciting few months and we’re looking forward to seeing the long-term returns of our new offices.
But, in the meantime, if you’re wondering how to improve your company culture and your agents’ outlook:
Improve your clients’ experience and the rest will come.