Working from home has become the norm as the coronavirus pandemic has caused huge swathes of the UK economy to close repeatedly over the past year. While the varying restrictions haven’t always resulted in estate agents and other property professionals having to work from home full-time, the pandemic has highlighted the viability of this kind of work for those in the industry.
Immediately before the pandemic, there were voices in the industry ready to argue the case for expanding home working, citing a number of benefits such as work-life balance, flexibility more in line with their clients’ availability and inclusivity. While the pandemic has made home working more of a necessity, looking toward the future, the benefits of remote working and the technology that can facilitate it make a clear argument that remote working should be here to stay.
From reducing commute times to requiring fewer journeys to viewings, remote working, as well as virtual viewings can provide a better work-life balance for agents even when viewings can be carried out as normal again. Though sales and lettings through virtual viewings alone have been uncommon, initial viewings being conducted virtually will give potential buyers a better understanding of the property and whether they want to continue. This could result in fewer uninterested parties attending viewings, providing a more efficient service from agents.
Property inspectors would also benefit from remote working, especially those who carry out inspections across a large area of the country. With new technology enabling remote live inspections, inspectors would be able to complete more work in less time, which also enables agents and other professionals to work with trusted inspectors regardless of their distance from the property.
Most property viewers need to fit viewings around work, opting for later appointments or weekends. With this in mind, sticking to rigid office hours doesn’t always best serve an agent’s customer base. Home and remote working could provide increased flexibility for agents to establish their own routine and be available when their clients need them. This in turn improves efficiency, creating a workforce with more control over their time and a client base with more freedom to engage with the industry.
For both agents and viewers, remote property viewings allows for improved accessibility. For those with a disability, viewing properties can be a challenging and time-consuming task. Virtual viewings enable people to view properties at their own pace and within their own limits, allowing agents to better serve the full range of their potential clients. Live inspection software also allows inspectors with disabilities and those who have less access to reliable transport to be available for more work, improving equity across the industry.
Freelance property inspectors may not be able to establish a stable level of work each month when they’re required to attend every property they inspect. This could be due to high levels of competition, limited housing stock or inability to access reliable travel. With remote inspection software, estate agencies and landlords can instruct inspectors for their properties no matter where they are in the country.
Now, by building relationships with property professionals across the country, self-employed property inspectors could generate more consistent work for themselves by offering live inspections that they can carry out without having to travel long distances.
While the pandemic still poses a material threat to life in the UK and home working is more present than ever before, the trends we’re seeing in working patterns will no doubt extend far into the future. New technology created out of necessity in the last year will provide benefits for the industry even after the threat of coronavirus has subsided.
Article contributed by Damon Culbert, InventoryBase
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