o a certain extent, we all need some semblance of face-to-face interaction in our
work life. We are human after all. In a
mortgage company, however, how do we
accomplish this imperative while still providing our top performers with the benefits of
working from anywhere?
Providing for the possibility of remote workers
has numerous benefits, both for the company and
its employees. It can help with talent acquisition,
provide flexibility that can keep employees happier and improve efficiencies and reduce costs.
There are downsides as well, however. Company
culture can suffer. Teams may find it hard to gel.
It also can be tough to identify and correct issues.
Fortunately, there are tools that managers and
team leads can use to alleviate some of these
Benefits of remote originators
Let’ start by discussing what can go right. All successful mortgage companies are interested in
attracting good sales talent. They do this by offering great benefits, culture, or money. To attract the
best, however, companies should not tie people
to one location. Imagine the best processor in the
world lives in Omaha, Nebraska, and your company
is based in Philadelphia. Unless you are a remote-friendly company, that probably won’t be a good fit.
Consider also that regions are diverse
and local culture is relevant to loan origination.
An underwriter in Bakersfield, California, for example, may not know why a basement is “kind of a
big deal” when processing a loan for a home in
Salt Lake City. For national companies, it helps
to have teams that understand the needs of the
region, especially if originations from across the
country take place in centralized locations.
Recruiting remote workers can make economic
sense as well. Employees living in major metropolitan areas often demand higher salaries to pay
for a higher cost of living, independent of experience or education. A company that supports
hiring remote teammates, may be able to pay
them handsomely for their local market expertise
while still saving money. Consider also that space
is expensive. A remote team may allow a branch to
lease a smaller office space or, in some cases, no
space at all.
Remote working can make employees happier.
Working in their pajamas and being able to attend
to home-based tasks during breaks can encourage loyalty and love for the company in many
employees. The lack of long, grueling commutes
also can be a major contributor to the prized
Working from home also can help focus an em-
ployee’s attention. We may not want to admit it,
but people socialize at
work. Many people find they
get a lot more done at their home office because
they never feel obligated to find out (or overhear)
what a teammate did over the weekend.
Finally, hiring remote originators can provide
an edge over the competition. Originators who
attract business via video, social media and concentrated phone time can generate leads much
more efficiently via a home-based workstation
than by driving from place to place.
Drawbacks to the plan
The biggest drawback to a remote workforce is
its effect on company culture. Culture is so hard
to capture in the first place. How can any culture
remain intact if teammates are not present to
experience the mood of the office, or be guided by
senior teammates in cultural tenets? This question
must be answered before any company considers
hiring a remote workforce.
Employee engagement also is a hot topic in this
discussion. Too often, remote employees fall victim to being “out of sight, out of mind.” This goes
beyond supervisory issues. If someone is bored,
there is no energy present from other teammates
to perk that person up. If someone is frustrated,
there is no sounding board present to help talk
“All successful mortgage companies
are interested in
sales talent.” << Workforce continued from Page 113