If you've ever been to the circus you might have seen the act where they see how many clowns can stuff into a Volkswagen. Until recently, that's how our office has felt for the last year or so; too many agents and not enough desk space. With a whopping 384 square feet including a bathroom and storage space, our "main office" was a marvel of efficiency while maintaining a certain cozy feel. Cozy or not however, the idea of "sharing a desk" took on a completely new meaning in as it meant not only that a desk might be "shared" by more than one person, at any given time, but a single desk would often be shared by more than one person simultaneously. As a matter of fact, my poor Principal Broker's desk was often occupied by not one, not two, but more often than not, three people at once. And that's before any clients ever walked into the door.
Ah yes, the clients. If you can imagine this, the "reception area" occupied easily half of the available square footage while most of the brokers worked in the only other room. If ever a client or even just a "walk-in" showed up wanting information, in order for that customer to receive any level of privacy with a broker, a mass exodus would be required of five to six people from one room to the reception area (where the wide eyed client still stood) while the broker on duty and our new and now fearful customer were able to move into the only other place where they could close the door and talk in private. That was interesting enough; now, when you introduce a second or even third client into the picture, as would occasionally happen, let's just say that's when things got really interesting.
Last summer I adopted a dog, a great big lovable and highly exuberant black lab named Barney. During the first few weeks after his adoption, I wasn't quite sure how I should deal with him during the day while I was at work. Luckily for me and Barney, but perhaps not anyone else, I was given permission to bring him into work with me. Oh boy. At first this seemed a perfectly reasonable thing to attempt, after all, what could be more mellow than a Lab right? WRONG! I wish I could describe the feeling of panic I felt on the more than one occasion when I heard the front door open, and then saw nothing but a blur of my then seventy-something pound dog moving at full gallop in a direct path toward his unsuspecting victim. Barney was never aggressive, but that's not to say he wasn't a bit scary at times, that was until the person being "greeted" would realize that Barney's worst intention was only to perhaps lick that person into submission.
Amazingly, most customers took both the small quarters and Barney in stride although I have to admit an occasional appearance of less than 100% professionalism on my part when being forced to listen intently to my clients while at the same time doing my best to keep the dog under control. Needless to say, that situation didn't last long and I soon found a way to keep the dog at home, where he should have been in the first place. In retrospect, it seems to me that I must work with the most understanding and generous people on the planet who allowed me to make that decision on my own while already enduring a cramped working environment. Nobody complained even once. Wow.
Finally, in January, after many months of excited anticipation, our office moved into a much larger and attractive space. Not only do all of the agents now have their own desks, some even have their own offices. Ah.. the little things in life! We now have a beautiful reception area with seating and an area to allow our clients comfortable viewing access to a computer. We even have a conference room, a full blown kitchen, outside deck off the back and more than one bathroom that doesn't get blocked when clients are in the house! Yeee-ha, life is good.
Although we now work in a "real" office, I have to say that despite how much we now enjoy our new and luxurious space, I can't help but wonder if we won't miss the old digs occasionally. It was the kind of situation that will either induce severe cabin fever or bond everyone together with feelings of not only camaraderie and teamwork but family with shared experience.
Maybe if we start missing the old times I'll just bring in Barney again. We'll see you next time.
Fred Jaeger is a licensed Oregon Real Estate Broker and an e-PRO Certified Realtor® associated with Gilchrist Real Estate Company in La Pine Oregon. He can be reached directly at 541 598-5449 or email@example.com .