While foot traffic in real estate offices has been limited recently, doors are beginning to reopen in many areas as restrictions are loosened. With new practices for safe engagement in place, the role of the office as a connection point will resume, and a well-designed space says as much about a company as ever.
Each year, Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® (LeadingRE) presents an award for Most Innovative Office Design, celebrating members from its global network of 550 firms that have excelled in this area. This year, two firms were recognized: Greenwood King Properties (Houston, TX) and Realty Austin (Austin, TX).
“When we recognized our office design winners, we did not imagine the dramatically different role real estate offices would play in the coming months,” said LeadingRE President/CEO Paul Boomsma. “Now, as we look ahead to the gradual return to normalcy with the understanding that adjustments will need to be made in how offices welcome agents and visitors, we can take inspiration from thoughtful design principles that stand the test of time.”
Greenwood King took a unique approach in 2003 when opening a full-service real estate resource center known as The Lobby in a repurposed bank building. It was designed to define the role of a real estate company in an ever-changing market and act as a “gathering place” and “bank of information” for local neighborhoods and residential areas.
Over the years, the space has been continually refreshed and now boasts large flat screen monitors, guest Wi-Fi, and a complimentary refreshment bar. It continues to be a place where anyone can walk in and get exactly what they need for buying and selling residential properties, whether they do the research on their own or are expertly advised by a Greenwood King Realtor.
Consumers can find information on market activity, comps, sales, and schools, as well as a plethora of lifestyle resources on local amenities. They can also learn about all things home related—whether on architectural design, gardens, interiors, or furniture. The lesson in office design? Create a comfortable and gracious environment that draws consumers and invites them to engage.
The second winner for Most Innovative Office Design is Realty Austin, recognized for their new ultra-modern and collaborative offices that were inspired by the eclectic, innovative culture of the local Austin market.
With the goal of blending community, culture, and technology in mind, each office features a modern community center, including tables, booths, and interactive TVs with Apple Airplay. Open and innovative workspaces encourage and support collaboration with peers and clients.
Cutting-edge training facilities are also featured at each new office, with state-of-the-art audiovisual technology and inspiring mural artwork by local artists. Agents also enjoy beautiful, interactive client meeting rooms and private day offices that can be reserved online or with the wall-mounted iPad scheduling system outside each meeting space.
Realty Austin’s offices show how technology, intentional design, and local character can be combined to create dynamic spaces that foster productivity and teamwork.
While the changing world requires new measures for safety, the real estate office will once again become a hub for business activity. When it does, ensure your space is inviting and reflects the local community, while fostering efficiency, collaboration, and engagement.