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What We've Learned From The COVID-19 Pandemic (so far)

Monday August 31, 2020 ● By Joe La Spina // Place Estate Agents

COVID-19, one of the most searched terms of 2020, has quickly set the scene for many industries on their ability to adapt to the ever-changing market conditions.

For some, this time has shown a company's readiness and willingness to change, and for others, it has been an eye-opening experience that has sparked an enormous interest in being able to adapt for the future.

For Place, this experience has been one that has shaped the way we operate for the better. From embracing the WFH (working from home) life, to hosting our major events like the Quarterly Awards completely online for our staff, we look to Innovation as one of our core values to guide us through these periods of change. Now more than ever, the real estate industry has the opportunity to make dramatic changes both for the duty to our clients, and to our staff.

A change that didn't feel like one

As many companies have discovered during this time, the ability to embrace and adopt remote work has been a challenge. What we've found at Place is that, thanks to the services we use every day to communicate internally, we have been able to tackle the remote work life challenge head on with triumphant results.

Our teams across Brisbane employ high-tech software platforms that integrate meeting scheduling, calendar management, video chatting and project collaboration tools all in one place which enables us to perform as a team no matter where we are. So, transitioning into working from home was actually very smooth, as we were well-equipped well before everything changed. Thankfully, we were also able to continue our Friday afternoon drinks session virtually!

Improved operations

When a few core functions of real estate suddenly stop, how can the business continue? As news broke that all open homes and auctions would cease to operate during COVID-19, this challenge hit hard. However, that was no excuse to throw in the towel. With Innovation being a core value here at Place, there's always room to adapt and find new ways to deliver our services to clients. 

We were proud to introduce Livestreamed Open Homes and Auctions to our clients, so we didn't skip a beat. A property dream doesn't die, and it was important that we didn't let it. Throughout the pandemic, the Place Group saw over 700 Livestreamed Open Homes and auctions take action, welcoming new buyers and sellers in every corner of the market. In fact, in just one weekend, we held:

This revolutionised our way of life, and the industry, making it easier than ever to buy and sell property. 

A new work life

With a new push to promote flexible working arrangements for work-life culture, this period of uncertainty actually helped our company realise that flexibility in the workplace lead to a more productive, and enjoyable working day. Our team in Human Resources that made their mission to keep closely in touch with all staff members affected by the pandemic, found that a very positive change was evident throughout the workplace. Maddy Jones, a Human Resources Coordinator, said that "Working from home taught us to better balance our work and home lives to make sure they didn't mould into one. Eliminating the daily commute allowed more time to myself in the morning/evening, and although I missed interacting with my team, the individual work allowed me to make valuable progress on projects that has been pushed back during busy periods," she said. "And what's even more remarkable, is that I was/am not the only one to feel this way."

It was important to us that our culture did not lose a sense of community and togetherness that we've worked so hard to establish, especially with all the restrictions in place to maintain social distancing. Daily team meetings, along with frequent Head Office huddles held online ensured our teams were far from disconnected. It's very easy to get lost in your calendar and list of to-dos throughout the day, missing the time to check-in with team mates and colleagues. Being well-connected in an online team environment would often force ourselves to say in-touch in a very positive way.

All in all, this pandemic has taught us a lot, and continues to do so. We learnt the value in keeping closely together with members of our team, and the potential of a new work/life balance. However, one thing that was nothing new, is that here at Place, we were always ready to adapt and take the leap.

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