Some 100 brokers were asked what proportion of their time they spent working in an office before the Covid-19 pandemic hit the UK.
The results, revealed on Kensington’s webinar, showed that on average brokers spent 69 per cent of their time in an office, and the remaining 31 per cent of their time working from home.
But as lockdown restrictions begin to ease, brokers were asked if they planned to return to their pre-pandemic working habits.
The split between time spent working from home and in the office narrowed, with brokers planning to spend 57 per cent of their time in the office and 43 per cent at home.
Mortgage broker Rachel Dixon of RD Dixon told Mortgage Solutions she has loved working from home during lockdown so much she plans to drastically change the way she works.
Before the restrictions came into force, she spent the majority of her time working in the office but after being forced to relocate her business to her house full time, she plans to continue working remotely.
“I have adjusted to working from home probably better than I thought I would,” said Dixon.
“I did have an office, however, my husband is now using it. Working for the police, his work is more sensitive than mine so he I’ve moved to the downstairs table. But at least I get to open the double doors, it feels like I am letting the outside in.
“We have also been looking at getting a home office/gym to be built in the garden so moving forward I have everything I need right here. I think in the future, I may choose to just do one day at the office and the remainder from home.”
Homeworking has improved Dixon’s work-life balance. She does not have to work as many Saturdays as she did in the past because most of her clients are also working from home. Now she can plan her weekdays and lunchtimes more easily to work around them.
Setting up costs
Taking the leap to complete homeworking can be expensive. When Stuart Gregory, managing director of Lentune Mortgage Consultancy, relocated from his town centre office in Lymington around 18 months ago he spent £7,500 setting up a work space in a log cabin in his back garden.
“We had seen a reduction in daily footfall – with many clients preferring a meeting in their own home and after normal office hours,” said Gregory.
“And with Brexit progressing, we wanted to future proof our business by reducing our business outgoings.
“The set up costs were around the same as a years’ worth of rent for our previous office. So working remotely from home makes perfect sense for us presently – we’ve only lost one potential client since we did it who wanted to visit our town office instead.”
Missing the ‘social buzz’
Not all brokers are desperate to ditch the commute and the bustle of a busy office however. Jane King, mortgage and equity release adviser at Ash-Ridge Private Finance, normally only works from home two days a week and has no plans to change that.
She said: “I love London so I am currently going there once a week to work just because I can. I normally work from home two days a week which is enough for me.
“Although I do longer hours at home I miss the social buzz of London, the chance to meet new people and the pubs and restaurants. I can’t wait to get back more often.”
While homeworking is the government’s preference for the public right now, when restrictions are lifted Chris Hall, mortgage adviser at Mortgage Guardian, said brokers should be ready to adopt a hybrid approach.
He believes incorporating remote advice, face to face appointments in clients’ homes, and in person networking to generate new business is the optimal strategy.
He manages a team of brokers and when restrictions are lifted, will be helping them to adapt to the new way of working.