BrokerageIndustry News

Brokers think beyond the cubicle

'Hot desks' and incentives encourage agent mobility

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By MARY UMBERGER Unlike many American workers, Anna Demeyere doesn't feel as if she's chained to her office desk. For one thing, she doesn't have a desk. She never did. Demeyere is a sales associate at Real Estate Partners in Chattanooga, Tenn. This young brokerage largely ditched the idea of providing assigned desks for agents in favor of "hot desks," available on a first-come, first-served basis. Powerful communications technologies have led to some out-of-the-box redesigns of real estate brokerage offices, with some brokers eschewing the idea of "the office" as a one-size-fits-all workplace (see related articles). In the sleek, downtown Chattanooga space that Real Estate Partners moved into last November, a few agents who tend to work traditional hours and wanted permanent desks got them. But most of the 38 who are on staff here show up rarely or at various times of the day. They slide into any of 10 or so unadorned "hot desk" cubicles, whip...