Safety at the Office
Make Your Office a Home Base for Safety
August 18, 2010
Source: Andrew Wooten, president of S.A.F.E.
A safe office is good business. Making your workplace more secure will make your clients feel safe and increase productivity, thereby creating more listings and sales.
Client & Agent Records
The key to staying safe in the real estate industry is knowing your clients and having your office know your schedule-both of which are centered right in your office. Ideally, your workplace has a process in place for meeting clients for the first time, collecting their identifying information, and "checking out" agents for appointments. If your employer does not have a process in place for these standard procedures, here are some tips you can follow that will ensure your safety on the job.
ALWAYS meet new clients in your office, and be sure to introduce them to at least three different people. A would-be assailant doesn't like to be noticed, knowing a person could pick him out of a police lineup.
Have all clients fill out a Prospect Identification Form with name, address, work information, phone numbers, and vehicle information-and verify all information provided before you head out the door with them!
Always tell someone in your office where you're going, who you're meeting and when to expect you back. Create an electronic or paper form for this, or use a white-board that others can check.
Be sure your office has up-to-date contact information on you in case of an emergency.
What about your safety as you head to the office, or leave for appointments? Criminals watch for patterns, so be sure to change up your daily routine. Arrive at work-including weekly or daily locations-at different times. Leave your house and come home at different times. When driving, take different routes to commonly visited places. Park in a different space than you usually park. Random variances in your behavior move you from a predictable target to an unpredictable, difficult person to surprise.
The Night Shift
If you must work alone in the office at night, be prepared! Have your broker walk the entire office with you before everyone else leaves, and make sure all the windows and doors are locked. It's also important that all entranceways and sidewalks are well lit and that you can see your car. Move your car to a safe, nearby spot before the last person leaves the office.
Remember that law enforcement officers are here to help you. When you're working alone at night, call your local police station and let them know you have hot coffee and ask them to have cruisers use your parking lot for meetings and writing reports. Call the police immediately if you see or hear anything suspicious or have a good reason to suspect a crime is being committed.
You can increase the service you bring to your clients by being more aware and comfortable in even the most familiar surroundings. Don't let your focus on a potential sale distract you from being safe. Above all, always remember Andrew's golden rule:
"You are your best weapon, your mind, voice and body. Listen and trust your inner voice. It is the best weapon you have."
We hope this article is helpful to you. Please feel free to share this information with your staff, family and friends. For additional information on training classes, seminars, keynote speeches or consulting please visit SAFE at www.justbesafe.com. If you would like to reprint this article in your publication, please feel free. Just send us a copy or link to your published work.
Andrew Wooten is a certified crime prevention practitioner and the president of S.A.F.E. (Safety Awareness Firearms Education). He has been in the safety and security industry for over 25 years.