Options for protecting your office and your agents
Thursday, April 7, 2011
REALTOR® Safety Week officially falls in September, but brokers can work to ensure the safety of themselves, their clients, and their agents all year round with the safety-related information and resources on the ORRA website.
Information on the ORRA site includes a series of articles about safety in a variety of venues (office, road, home, computer, etc.) and quick-read tips, plus a link to the well-stocked REALTOR® safety section on the NAR website.
NAR's website offers materials designed to assist brokers establish and promote safe practices — ideal for developing office-wide safety policies. They include a safety action plan worksheet with suggested policy guidelines, a step-by-step plan for creating a comprehensive safety strategy, and ready-to-use forms (prospect identification, agent identification, and agent itinerary).
Among the materials is a PowerPoint presentation that can be used to conduct an office-wide safety education meeting. The presentation includes instructions and talking points for the meeting's facilitator to use, along with informative handouts. There's even a short video that can be downloaded and used as an introduction to the presentation.
Brokerage Safety Procedures
Create an office safety plan. Appoint one individual as a safety coordinator to oversee, maintain, and enforce the plan. Require everyone in your firm to know and understand the safety policies and procedures. Make it a top priority. Use the websites on the resource list and the "Office Safety Action Plan" included on the CD-ROM to create your plan.
Assign an office safety contact and several alternates. If your office has a full-time receptionist or clerical assistant, this person is an ideal choice. However, encourage your agents to call 9-1-1 in an emergency or if they perceive that they are in danger.
Require agents to report their whereabouts to your safety contact, and establish safety call-in procedures. Mandate the use of the buddy system. Create and communicate distress codes, making sure that all employees and agents not only know what they are, but exactly what to do when they hear them.
Don't forget workplace safety procedures for the office. Use a registration book for all clients and other visitors, and check their information against a photo ID. Establish a secure location to which employees can go in a dangerous situation. Make sure private areas of the office aren't accessible to strangers.
Ensure that someone is responsible for being aware of your agents' whereabouts whenever they work offsite. Consider personally visiting or calling the open houses where your agents are working.
(Source: Nevada County (Calif.) Association of REALTORS®)