Friday, May 1, 2020

Five Weeks Down - How Many to Go? AKA What I’ve Learned from Stay at Home Mandate

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Commercial Real Estate is a contact sport - requiring face to face, arm in arm, hand to hand interaction - or does it? On March the 16th in the year of our Lord 2020 - we made the decision to allow one of our employees to telecommute. She was in the high risk category for Covid infection. The next day - we sent our staff of five hence to work remotely. All agents were encouraged to engage off-site as well. This was three days before our governor’s executive shelter in place order took effect on March 20th.

Full disclosure. I prefer to toll my craft mobily and have worked since 2014 to replace any legacy desktop program in favor of those I can access from anywhere - driver’s seat of my car, coffee shop, front porch of my house, client’s lobby. Those mobile platforms include CoStar Go, Reonomy, ClientLook, Dropbox, Zoom, and Mailchimp.

However - woven into the fabric of my vocation is a steady stream of client meetings, prospect discovery discussions, building tours, group conferences, networking events, lunches, coffees, and the like. With a full stop on any physical contact - lest we endanger the weaker among us - what follows is what I’ve learned from sheltering in place.

Meetings can still occur. How many people - just four short weeks ago - had never heard of ZOOM - let alone used it. I’ve been a ZOOM user for several years but I’ve become quite proficient in requesting, scheduling, hosting, and recording individual and group meetings. Maybe not quite as effective as in person - but very close.

Building tours are challenging. Probably the biggest obstacle to the stay at home order has been touring availabilities. A combination of FaceTime, virtual tours, and yes - ZOOM are the work arounds.

Working remotely is more efficient. Roll out and get to work - simple! No driving allowance or delays. Just pure work time.

I’m spending less on dry cleaning. Who cares if you wear the same shirt twice or more. No starch please. I’ve not shimmied into a suit in weeks. I’m a bit nervous about the Covid-19 - not the virus but the pounds.

I’ve not sat in traffic for weeks. Brilliant! Plus I’ve not been late. In the absence of driving to appointments everyday - I’ve found two or three hours not claimed before.

Deals are happening. Especially essential ones - tax deferred exchanges, lease renewals, and marketing vacancies.

Folks are talking about “what’s next”. What’s next will be the subject of next week’s column.

Stay well, dear readers. That light you see is in fact the end of a tunnel - not an oncoming train.

Allen C. Buchanan, SIOR, is a principal with Lee & Associates Commercial Real Estate Services in Orange. He can be reached at or 714.564.7104. His website is

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