Name: Michael Murphy
Title: Executive Vice President/Head of Operations
Company Name: Douglas Elliman Real Estate, Commercial Services
What was the most challenging part of working during the pandemic?
There have been several challenges throughout the last few months due to this unprecedented global pandemic. Perhaps the biggest challenge has been projecting and encouraging a sense of calm for our clients, customers, and agents amidst this entire situation. Keeping morale up daily and maintaining constant connections with agents, colleagues, and clients has been especially important.
With the inability for our agents to engage directly with their colleagues, Managers or leaders’ agents may feel disconnected, less creative, and less productive. Spending more time on laptops and computers can result in screen fatigue which results in shortened attention span and can in fact be more exhausting than face to face interactions. As a relationship-driven business, being forced to limit face-to-face meetings and engaging with masks just does not feel the same. I genuinely love and enjoy networking and meeting people, so having to adjust the way we “meet” was certainly one of the larger challenges.
Perhaps equally challenging was trying to navigate through the process; figuring out who was working and who may have “shut down” was a task at times. There are many moving parts in a commercial transaction such as coordinating with lawyers, title companies, environmental companies, appraisers, engineers, banks, and the towns-, so getting creative and learning to pivot to ensure that we could still do business during this time was interesting as well.
What aspects of working from home did you enjoy most?
Besides my coffee pot and casual clothing on a daily basis, I found that with less distractions, fewer interruptions, less office politics, and a quieter noise level, I was able to focus and be extremely productive! Remote work is all about accountability and individual performance. When one remains disciplined and holds themselves accountable for their own level of performance, they can achieve as much success from home as they can reporting to an office each day! After all, coming in early and leaving late may “look” like more work, but actual accomplishment is a much better indicator of productivity.
Additionally, I found that I was able to take some time to create a better work-life balance. This control over your work schedule can be invaluable when it comes to attending to the needs of your personal life. Whether it is balancing kids school schedules, medical appointments, or errands, it can all be done a little more easily when you work from home. I also found that our office meetings which went from in person to Zoom were more even more beneficial than normal.
What was your greatest professional accomplishment in 2020?
My greatest professional accomplishment was and continues to be geared around building and nurturing a culture that lives and breathes integrity. In an extremely competitive market, we have been successful at building trust from our clients, attracting top talent, and defining effective strategic and operational paths to our future. Our award-winning team of agents work together every day to accomplish a common goal. More than the success of any project or transaction, developing a strong talented and diversified, business family provides great satisfaction!
What was your most notable project, deal, or transaction in 2020?
The “off market” sale of the largest hotel at Fire Island. This location served as a former lifeboat station in the early 1900s, then the Fire Island Hotel and Resort took over the property for almost 30 years. This project is now being redeveloped as a boutique hotel known as Fire Island Beach House. Simply started as a vision and dream for a small group of investors and helped turn that into a reality!