The idea of running your team from home might leave you in fear, causing you to sprint away at the thought of disaster. However, running your team from home is manageable and, if done correctly, can be an asset for your team and your family.
I have always considered my team as family. When I launched my company in September of 2016, I took a position that would make me ultimately responsible for how my agents fed their families, but I didn’t see us evolving into a full-service team who offices from my home.
Over the last several years, my husband and I dreamed about how we would love to move into the city limits of Houston to a specific neighborhood, but the cost was always outside of our means. Until THE ONE house became available. A charming, two-story, 1910 Victorian with a wrap-around porch and an upper balcony that came right out of a romance novel set on a Georgia Plantation. Here’s the kicker. The interior had been modified into a duplex with a common staircase and it was slightly over budget. We grappled with the concept of how we could make this work and then the words slid out of my husband’s mouth, “you could consolidate your office space down the street and move the team in.”
What? No. Work-life balance was hanging over me like the Grim Reaper does when it’s your time to go. However, we ultimately decided to give it a go, because, what is a work-life balance and who really has that anyway? So, I moved in downstairs and the team moved in upstairs. Yes, I’m probably a crazy person.
Now, after five months of this, I wouldn’t change a thing.
Our production has risen to a level where I could keep my husband home and keep an eye on kids who may come to team meetings when external childcare isn’t available. You see, we’re an all-woman team, with all-woman challenges. Sick kids, school holidays, summer breaks and temporary financial hardship shouldn’t keep a member of my team from being able to work in order to provide for their families.
We have a more comfortable vibe in the office too, and we even have a babysitter on staff. Cozy throw blankets with plush blue velvet sofas and kids playrooms set up should they need a quick distraction to print or make calls. You need to encompass structure, boundaries and “house rules.” My agents respect this space more because it’s also my home. Dishes are put away, and the space is generally kept cleaner. We have a safe space that puts our agents and clients at ease- they feel comfortable home shopping in a home.
It’s not without challenges, though. The house needs to be pretty spotless all the time in the event clients or vendors pop by, no roaming around in PJs on Sunday Mornings, and managing security and ensuring all agents could access the workspace through their separate entrance during office hours was a task that took some extra thought. However, agent communication is better than before, productivity is up, and our agents are happier. They have access Monday through Friday from 9 a.m.- 4 p.m., weekends by appointment, and childcare with 24-hours notice.
Naturally, this isn’t a fit for a more corporate style team, but it’s a process that we have embraced and grown to love. We are families who help families and opening my home was a natural extension of that process.
Nicole Lopez is the creator and Leader of The PR Group at Intero Real Estate Services in Houston. Connect with Nicole on Facebook.
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