Different businesses require different business hours. Realtors’ busy time is evenings and weekends. This is when most clients are available for looking at houses. I really respect them for working such difficult hours. My family time has always been very important to me, especially when the kids were younger, I had to be home for them. That was one of the main reasons I’ve have always worked from home.
Working from home has benefits and drawbacks. It’s wonderful to wake up early and head into the office with a cup of coffee and get a few hours of work in before anyone else rises! There are many days I head into the office after a shower with no make-up and my hair not styled. Thank goodness we do not have video phones yet! When you are productive and on a roll it’s easy to keep right on going. I can easily get 5-6 hours in before noon and still head out for afternoon consults or an afternoon de-stage. This makes for some very productive days. Another benefit is being able to throw dinner into the slow cooker or throw in a load of laundry. I often multi-task to fit everything into my busy schedule. I’m a morning person so this works well for me. By the time 6pm rolls around I’ve usually put in close to 12 hours already. Then it’s time for dinner and family time for the rest of the day.
Some of the main drawbacks of working from home is that I rarely truly leave work behind. My office door is always open and its’ too easy to check if someone responded to my email, or go finish that proposal, or finish that never ending paperwork. Weekends at home I can always be found doing a few hours Saturday and Sunday morning before anyone else rises. That is the main reason I love our cottage. My cell service is sketchy at best, I don’t check my emails, and I actually get away and come back fresh and ready to start a new week. Down time is so important, it allows for balance in a sometimes crazy and hectic busy life when you own your own businesses and have young children. Everyone needs to unplug and shut off for a while.
This is one of the main reasons why I’m reluctant to do evening appointments. I’ve already done a 12 hour work day by 6 pm so adding another 2-3 hours isn’t very appealing. My brain is usually tired at that point and I’m really just not as clear as I am in the morning. This means it may take me longer to do the same thing, or I may miss something completely. Not the best for me or my client. Another reason is that as winter hours roll around, doing color consults in the evening are very challenging. How a color looks at night with interior lighting is very different from how the same colors looks in the natural daylight. One home I did earlier this spring appeared to be a soft beige, seeing it in daylight later it had a definite pink quality! Not what I would have left on the walls had I seen this during the evening consult. I explain this to people when they request evening appointments, but some refuse to listen. Ironically these are always the same people who later question the color recommendations made. Honestly, there is only so much I can do with the existing lighting. Color hues and tones change with the lighting. This is one of the main reasons I recommend clients buy a sample of a paint to try on the walls to see in different lighting before painting the whole space.
Many businesses simply refuse to do evening or weekend appointments. I’m beginning to understand why. Other than the basics of time management, and literally forcing yourself to control how many hours you choose to work each week. This comes back to balance in life and work. However, there is also the more practical aspect of certain things just need to be done during the day if they are going to be done right!
I’m shocked when I call a Realtor and do not have a call back from them in 24 hours. Most are pretty good. However, there are certainly those that will not return calls for a few days, if they do. I’m not talking one call but numerous. My best suggestion is before you hire someone, leave a message with just your name and number. See how long it takes for them to get back to you. Do you want to list with someone who won’t be returning calls from potential buyers? Let’s face it Real Estate is a weekend and evening business. They should be returning calls. Technically my business hours are Monday to Friday 9-5. However, I will usually return calls the same day even in the evening, if at all possible, when I’m not busy in the evening. Worst case scenario, I’ll call you back the next business day. However, I rarely will return calls on the weekends. I’m simply not a 24 hour emergency on call business. Although I’ve actually had people call me at 11 pm and 1:30 am and even 3:10 am to ask about staging! I now just turn my phone off when I go to bed. I work long enough hours during the week and I do my best to give my clients the very best service I can. However, my time with my family is their time and it’s equally important. I guess that’s why some businesses insist on a strict 9-5 schedule. I believe I will continue doing what I’m doing for now but I’ll just be less inclined to accommodate evening appointments as the winter hours begin to get closer.