As an essential job throughout the pandemic in most states, real estate agents continued to help people find the American dream of homeownership. The MLS organizations that supported them did what was necessary to support the local market as they always have, just in new ways.
WAV Group wanted to explore the topic further with MLSs and associations across the country. You can see many of the findings in the free Remote Workplace and Productivity report. Beyond the stats, we gathered some very interesting feedback about the unique requirements and the common tools that these organizations are experiencing as they contend with the new workplace normal.
There were two common challenges that MLS and associations ran into when trying to go fully remote. The operation of the REALTOR® storefront, specifically the supply of lockboxes and signs, was the first challenge. This was by far the service that brought people back to the office most often. However, there were a couple things some organizations were able to implement to either minimize the need to be in the office, or help to cut down on face-to-face contact during spikes in covid cases.
Christina Smestad, VP of Operations at RMLS, said they started to include free shipping for lockboxes to limit office interactions. Other MLSs found additional ways to serve their customers, like setting up a pickup station outside the office where staff could leave supplies that customers would pay for electronically. However, the local in-person MLS and association office continues to provide much value for busy agents that spend a lot of time on the road. Deb Frazier, CEO at REALTOR Association of Southwestern Illinois, pointed out that in addition to a storefront many offices, like hers, also provide coffee, conference rooms, and charging stations for members.
MLS and associations also experienced a technology gap. Many had to invest in phones and laptops for the staff. In some areas, MLSs experienced internet access problems. The organizations that took quick action to invest in the equipment maintained nearly uninterrupted service. In fact, in several markets, as Scott Hughes, Association Executive at Northwest Louisiana Association of REALTORS(R), reported, “Remote has allowed more flexible scheduling and thus more coverage time and happier employees in general.”
As WAV Group reported in the 2021 WAV Group Workplace and Productivity Report, most organizations have experienced positive results in worker productivity. Proactive communication and regular check-ins were certainly a contributing factor for ongoing success. Teams from Microsoft and Zoom meetings were the most popular and utilized tools. These tools were not only implemented for day-to-day tasks but also leveraged more widely for meetings. Virtual committee meetings have been very effective throughout the pandemic, keeping agendas moving forward.
Denise Mecseji, MLS Manager at Great Plains Regional MLS, summed it up: “Productive employees can work well no matter where they are working. You need to focus on internal communication and, ultimately, the members are the best measure of how we are doing.” Going forward, feedback from your customers will help to inform organizations which changes are working and which changes need to be made.
Download the 2021 WAV Group Workplace and Productivity study.
WAV Group can help you install an ongoing Customer Experience program that will benchmark your performance year-over-year and against other organizations nationwide.
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