Estate agents are being encouraged to consider providing increased flexible working options for their staff, including increased opportunities to work from home.
This is according to Agent & Homes, the prime London hybrid agency launched by respected former high street agents Rollo Miles and Bob Crowley in 2018.
The agency says flexible working can provide the agency industry with a range of benefits including higher levels of efficiency, productivity and staff morale.
It quotes the ONS Labour Force Survey, the largest study of employment circumstances in the UK, which suggests that more than 1.54 million people work from home for their main job, up from 884,000 a decade ago.
The government study also shows an increase in the number of people who work in different places but with their home as a base, rising by 200,000 to 2.66 million between 2008 and 2018.
Meanwhile, additional BBC analysis suggests a 74% rise in the number of people working from home over the same period.
"Being flexible means agents can work more closely to the needs of the modern consumer, who is likely to be time poor and predominantly available during evenings and at weekends," explains Bob Crowley, Agent & Hommes co-founder.
"It therefore makes logical sense for agents to make themselves available at these times, rather than being chained to rigid traditional office hours."
He says there is 'no point' in agents sitting around 'dead' high street offices when they could provide a more pro-active and efficient service at a time that suits their clients.
The firm's other founder, Rollo Miles, adds that flexible working structures can help to foster a more positive working atmosphere.
"Allowing staff to work more autonomously, organise their own schedules and work to their own targets will make agents more motivated," he says.
"These days, it's increasingly recognised that it's important for people to have a good work/life balance with the opportunity to take holidays and time off."
"Providing a professional and expert service which isn't constrained by a high street office or traditional working hours really is the future of estate agency in this country," Miles concludes.
Agent & Homes operates out of an office in Notting Hill Gate and has a team of self-employed agents who have the option of working from the centralised hub or wherever they like.
Employing a similar model to a range of other hybrid agencies, Agent & Homes allows its staff to keep 80% of commission fees, with the remaining 20% going back to the company to be invested in support and marketing services.
Last week, the agency announced that it has moved to a new headquarters to cater for its growing team, which consists of recruits from traditional high-end agencies as well as rival firms which hire self-employed agents.