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CS_BHGRE Lobby 2Earlier this week Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate hosted another fantastic Google+ Hangout on the topic, “The Impact of Office Design on Business.”

Thanks again to our speakers, Susana Murphy from Alante Real Estate, Aman Daro from Red Oak Realty, Eric Post from Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Realty Partners, and our host Jennifer Marchetti, SVP of Marketing and Communications at Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate.

You can view a full playback of the hour-long discussion via this link.

As anyone who’s ever set up a brokerage office understands, the office itself—the walls that surround the space where work is done—can play a large role in the growth path of your company. When it comes to creating this space, there’s a lot more strategy and thought involved than simply picking out furniture and wall paper – and the effects are long lasting.

Your office is a physical manifestation of your brand.

Think about ways in which your office can and does reflect who you are as a company.

“When you get a haircut from someone you pay attention to their hair style,” Susana said. “When you buy a pair of shoes, you pay attention to the shoes of the person who’s selling them to you… We sell homes, so our ‘home’ should be the best.”

Perched in front of a wall displaying Alante’s core values, Susana explained how each value factored into every step of creating the physical design. For example, they have a large room with desks in a circle rather than offices and cubicles. This manifests their emphasis on collaboration.

They also have a room with couches, TVs, games and blankets because family is very important to them, and they wanted to make sure there was space for agents and clients to bring their children in if they wanted.

You have to believe in where you’re going for others to follow.

Change is hard for everyone. So in a situation like Eric’s at Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Realty Partners, where he was transforming from an old space and traditional way of doing things to a new space and a fresh approach to his business, he had to ensure people were comfortable with the change.

“First you have to believe in what you’re doing,” he said. People can tell when you have doubts and will have trouble following.

Aman added that it helps to show where you’re going early with both the office design and business direction in order to get people excited about joining you. “When people saw the imagery and the vision for what we were trying to do, they got excited.”

Plan smartly to offset new costs.

In Red Oak’s case, they’ve been able to balance a lot of the costs associated with creating a new space by simply being smart with their decisions.

They made some trade-offs, of course. For instance, they moved to a better location, but cut their square footage in half.

And while they incurred remodeling and design costs, they added more sustainable elements like LED lights, which have enabled them to trim monthly utilities.