Kenny Kane is the Chief Operating Officer at Firmspace.
With everything from the pandemic to the job market to the economy in constant flux, it’s difficult to make any plan confidently right now. For the real estate professional who always has their eyes on their next achievement, past models of advancement may no longer seem to apply.
But unprecedented times do not preclude positive outcomes. Tried-and-true career growth strategies haven’t changed all that much — they just require a slightly different approach. Here are five ways the goal-oriented professional can take steps now toward success for the future.
1. Boost your thought leadership to make meaningful industry connections.
Being a thought leader pays dividends. According to a survey from LinkedIn, 55% of business decision-makers said they use thought leadership to vet organizations they may hire, and almost 60% said that thought leadership directly led to a buying or contract decision.
And thought leadership isn’t just good for your business — it can elevate your personal brand as an expert in the real estate industry. Establish your voice as a source of knowledge and guidance to grab the attention of fellow industry thought leaders, who may turn into connections who open doors for current or future opportunities.
Thankfully, you don’t need to hire a content producer or deliver a keynote address to become a thought leader. Start small and be consistent: Share insightful articles on LinkedIn along with your commentary, make a couple of industry predictions for 2021 or offer some pieces of professional advice you’ve found helpful lately.
If you have a more ambitious project in mind, like starting a podcast, there are plenty of DIY tools available to make production quick and seamless.
2. Take the time to develop a critical skill set.
Covid-19 has reshaped many business processes and objectives, and as a result, in-demand critical skills will shift alongside them. According to a recent Gartner report, 40% of employees already complete tasks outside of their role. As firms reprioritize the qualities that drive competitive advantage, roles will not hold the same weight as skills.
One silver lining of the pandemic’s disruption is that many graduate and executive education programs are now more accessible thanks to expanded remote offerings. Online certificates and courses that involve a minimal time commitment abound as well.
3. Secure a workspace that enhances your productivity.
There’s no clear consensus about employee satisfaction during the great work-from-home experiment. For some professionals, the remote setup has been a welcome break from tough commutes and noisy offices; others long for the privacy and security of their dedicated space in the firm’s HQ.
No matter where you fall on the spectrum — from “I want to work from home forever” to “Get me back to the office” — you know what works for you, and you’re entitled to pursue it. Research has shown that employees’ well-being and productivity correlates with how comfortable and secure they feel in their work environment.
If you are considering a return to the office, you might be looking for ways to improve your old space or searching for a new one. Make sure you find an office space that can provide optimal environments for productivity while upholding disease prevention protocols. It might make more sense for management to convene in-office while the rest of the team continues to work remotely.
If the pros of working from home outweigh the cons or a return to the office is not currently an option, look for ways to upgrade your home workspace. These might be design upgrades, such as introducing a standing desk, or they may involve setting more boundaries, like closing the door or turning off Slack notifications during certain hours.
4. Take a real break.
Don’t keep putting off your OOO time just because you can’t go on that trip to South America you’d been planning. You can actually achieve more when you have time to reset and get some distance from day-to-day operations.
Seriously, time off is necessary for your long-term productivity. Just as we must sleep every night to live, we must rest frequently to recuperate the energy we need to work well. If we don’t, productivity isn’t the only thing in jeopardy; our health can suffer, too. Job burnout has its own page on Mayo Clinic, after all.
To prioritize both your own well-being and your team’s success, give your colleagues plenty of time in advance to prepare for your time away, and support them as needed.
On a smaller scale, rest is just as important in your day-to-day routine. During your lunch break, leave your workspace if you can. Or make a habit out of midafternoon walks around the block to clear your head and return to your desk more focused.
5. Grow your network with intentional outreach.
You’re probably familiar with the serendipity of having the right LinkedIn connection at the right time. Knowing someone from a trade show several years ago can be the difference in a major real estate deal.
To make more of those connections in lieu of in-person networking events like conferences and trade shows, look for virtual opportunities to connect with leaders in your industry, such as online conferences, webinars or groups. Engage with content from other thought leaders like yourself — share posts, leave comments or shoot them a personal note to see if they’d like to talk one on one about the topic.
Invest in yourself when the market is uncertain.
Making investments in thought leadership, a broader network, a new skill or simply good rest and a supportive workspace all will not yield returns tomorrow. Like any great investment, these assets will help your value go up over time. Give your future self the resources you need to succeed, no matter the state of the market.
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