0 How to Navigate This New Normal

A focus on engagement, productivity, and being a value-add player

By Wil Catlin | March 30, 2020















We are in the middle of the largest test of remote work in history. As such, most of the national workforce is going through many “first times” together. Some of us have enjoyed remote access for years, while others are figuring it on the fly. All of us are determining how to be productive in a new environment. Here are some tips to help you navigate this new normal.


Many companies, including Boston Realty Advisors, are set up virtually and are open for business. Everyone has had a smartphone since the beginning of time. We answer emails in bed, on the toilet and during vacation. Now is not the time to be a deer caught in the headlights. It is a time to lead, advise and differentiate. Take a breath, keep your business hat on and forge ahead.


In all scenarios – good, fun, challenging and daunting – communication is key to professional success. Today and for the next couple of months, we need to lead with empathy and be clear. In a world of an abundance of data, new technology and artificial intelligence – Emotional intelligence is a key skill that will serve you and your clients today and into the future.

Engage, Connect & Care

Speak with your clients. Everyone is in the need of some level of advisory or will simply need an ear. Be there. Ask about family. Discuss your business. Ask about their business . Plan forward and be direct, “How can I help?”

When in question, pick up the phone and ask. Do not overdo it and be authentic. Your authenticity and thoughtfulness will speak volumes and have a lasting impression.

Top of Mind

Be relevant and present. Stay on point and add value. If you’re already active on social media, you have some built in training. Do not share or post just to check the box. That’s the fastest route to being ignored. Share industry news to be relevant. Share what’s working for you during this temporary insanity. Share a list of neighborhood restaurants that are delivering. Be thoughtful and get beyond the echo chamber to stand apart.

Self Starter

So much of our daily fabric has already changed. Try not to change too much more of your workday. Wake up at the same time and get ready for work. Most of you are in a role where being a self-starter is a requirement. It’s time to find or refind that self-starter in you. Be ready to work and lead by example.

Dedicated Space

You will need to define a space to work within your home. This is a space for you to habitually go to and a place that’s understood and respected as your work area. If you’re tight on space, a dedicated chair at the kitchen table will suffice. Tips include – Identify space with natural light; consider a sturdy desk; invest in a comfortable office chair; provide yourself with a good mouse, keyboard, and headset; and pay for the strongest internet connection possible. Perhaps, now is the time to invest in that stand-up desk you’ve been talking about.


Try not eating at your home workspace. It’s both a distraction and a bad habit. Think about it. Your kitchen is just a few steps away. When was the last time you sat down with your spouse or kids to have lunch? You’re home. Take the time to sit down with your kids – or not – and then get back to work. Your dedicated space to work is a place to be productive.


Be comfortable and don’t be lazy. If it helps putting on a button-down shirt every day, do it. If you’re more comfortable wearing your Sunday’s best, do that. You are your best judge. Be ready to work.


Staying active will keep you fresh and sharp. When working from home, try not to get trapped in your workspace for long periods of time. It’s important to walk away from your computer. For example, a 10-minute walk is powerful. Do not look for distractions. If you have 10-minutes between calls, instead of mindless time online, do a load of laundry or wash the dishes – and then get back to work.


Lack of time and not enough bandwidth are traditionally our worst friends. How many times have you said, “Great idea, but I don’t have the time”? Refresh those ideas. What will our new reality look like? Use this time to prepare. Those that are present and proactive will come out of this pandemic a step ahead.

Work/Life Balance

Welcome home. All chores and honey-do lists no longer have to be left exclusively for the weekend. Break your day up to help out. Accomplish a task at home and get back to work. When you effectively juggle work and life, you will find a new sense of accomplishment and discover new levels of productivity. Stay focused and on task.

A New Tomorrow

We are living in extraordinary times. Technology will bring new opportunities to our work life, but it will not replace the built environment. The office will always be a necessity. The questions are – what will it look like and what will each company be solving for.

Be Ready

When the economy normalizes, companies still value having people together in a physical space. Don’t let today’s challenges or the newness of working from home become a distraction. If you’re stuck, you will not be ready for when we get the green light.


0 Thank you Tom Sleeper for joining the BRA Morning Zoom

Thank you Tom Sleeper from InterContinental Insurance Brokers, LLC for joining the BRA Morning Zoom.  Key takeaways include.

  • It is key to start documenting your loss and identity your claim.
  • TIP – Your claim extends until your business returns to normal pace.
  • I believe the same insurance carriers that stepped up after 9/11 will step up again with COVID-19.

0 Thank you Josh Bowman from Sherin and Lodgen for joining the BRA Morning Zoom.

Thank you Josh Bowman from Sherin and Lodgen for joining the BRA Morning Zoom. Key takeaways include.
  • The government is not doing enough to help businesses in the CARES Act.
  • Landlords and tenants need to have open conversations sooner than later and work cooperatively to restructure their leases.
  • Be proactive.  Real estate owners should seek council for legal issues that are arising from COVID-19.

0 Boston/Cambridge Office Market Spring 2020


• Subleases are the only value left (if you can find one)
• Percent annual rent increase are the new market norm (change from $/SF) = Greater impact on longterm occupancy costs
• Landlord allowances are at historically low levels as a % of overall tenant improvement costs
• Spec suites are keeping middle market demand healthy and driving rent growth
• Price is no object for employee retention/recruitment



View Full Report Here: bradvisors.com


0 Thank you Chris Dalton for joining the BRA Morning Zoom

Thank you Chris Dalton from Asana Partners for joining the BRA Morning Zoom.  Key takeaways include.

  • We need to make sure, now more than ever, that tenants know they are being heard.
  • We are in 14-markets.  As a brand, it’s important to follow three simple guidelines.
  1. Communicate – Connect via video and reach out to tenants, lenders, investors and industry peers.
  2. Mindset – Our property management team is an extension of our team.  They need to be on the same page – always.
  3. Maintain Process – Don’t lose site that many are still in business.  Follow SOP and be nimble.

0 Thank you Jim Grady from Synergy Investments for Joining the BRA Morning Zoom

Thank you Jim Grady from Synergy Investmentsfor joining the BRA Morning Zoom. Key takeaways include:

  • Tenants are the lifeblood of any portfolio.  As tenants implement business continuity plans and take care of their respective families, our message is – Don’t focus on rent.  We will work with each tenant to develop the ideal solution based on each scenario.
  • TIP – Now is the time to work on relationships, build value and establish loyalty.


0 Boston Realty Advisors is Open for Business

We quickly transitioned to our new temporary reality and instituted a new morning ritual called – “Zoom with Wil.”

The all hands-on (employee only) virtual call jump starts our day, providing each of us the opportunity to connect, share information, and learn from one another.

Every morning “Zoom with Wil” features an industry guest speaker.  Today, we were honored to have Christopher Rosser from WS Development.  Mr. Rosser served in the military and discussed the similarities of battling COVID-19 to actual combat.  Fundamentally, he said the best thing to do is, “Stay calm.”  The following are other takeaways from his presentation and Q&A session.

  • Stressed the importance of learning from this episode in order to be better prepared for the next time.
  • Touched upon the value of convenience retail versus the potential hit that high-end retail will likely endure.
  • Talked about coworking space and reminded the tuned-in group that most experienced operators budget and plan for reduction spikes.
  • He warned against price cuts to prevent chasing a downward direction.
  • When we return to normalcy, office leasing will rebound.
  • Reminded us that the quicker we can overcome this disruption, the faster consumer confidence and spending will rebound.