Ellie Mirman from Ellie Mirman.com posted a great article about the rules for maximizing productivity of work teams.  I think there are some great lessons to be learned from a presentation from a blog called The Chief Happiness Officer.

Working more than 40 hours leads to decreased productivity. You can get a short-term boost by working more hours, but the team will require a recovery period that counteracts the seeming short-term productivity boost.  Working on Sundays and evenings can be helpful in the short-term to provide support to a potential client, but the team will required to recover from long hours can actually be longer than the short-term increases in productivity.  For agents that consistently work long hours, burnout can be faster and potentially more severe.

Productivity of “knowledge workers” (vs. factory workers) declines after 35 hours (not 40 hours). Ellie says when creative workers are forced to work longer hours and get less sleep, the quality of their output goes down dramatically.  While it may look like agents are working harder, they may actually be depleting themselves of the energy and creativity they need to effectively market properties.

Teams that work overtime think they are doing more but actually accomplish less.During crunch times, perceived productivity remains much higher than actual productivity.   Agents might be really busy, but are they really using their time to its fullest – are they spending the time to learn new technologies, for example?  MLSs around the country offer a ton of free services that go unused by most agents out there today, for example.  Agents may be spending unnecessary time processing paperwork, manually, for example, when they could be using document management technologies to save them time and money.

Teams of 4-8 people have higher productivity. This number seems to line up with the average size of real estate teams so that’s good news for our industry.

Seating the team together in a shared room increases productivity. This makes sense, since these are the people you communicate with the most.  While many real estate teams are now virtual, having the team together on a regular basis can improve communication and build team trust.

Cross-functional teams also increase creativity and productivity. Having a team consisting of people with different perspectives also helps reduce groupthink and helps increase breakthrough solutions. Interestingly, having members of these teams part time rather than full time results in a 15% drop in efficiency.  It is important to think about building a team with diverse backgrounds, experience and perspectives.  The current economy actually makes it much easier to recruit team members that bring corporate disciplines, educational disciplines and even retail backgrounds to the team.  It’s also important to be sure every member of the team is pulling their weight. We wrote an article a few months ago called Your team is only as strong as its weakest link for your reference.

Schedule your team at 80% to allow space for creative thinking and side projects. Of course, always have a backlog of projects you can pull from as needed, but leaving time for side projects can increase happiness and increase creative problem solving for all projects.   It is important to have the discipline to take the time to think about new ways to build the business with new sales strategies, marketing approaches, transaction management technologies and of course training courses.


Overall some interesting food for thought for bringing back to your own team.