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Survey Finds More People Are Working From Home Today

December 18, 2018

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12 Tips on taking the plunge and creating the perfect office in your Montecito home

home office perfect for working form home

Recent data compiled by a consortium of economists, data scientists, designers, researchers, and business executives compiled a comprehensive report, Data USA, that revealed approximately 20% of Montecito residents work from home. That’s more than 3 times the number of home-based workers in neighboring Santa Barbara and nearly 10 times the national average.

Nonetheless, according to a “State of the American Workplace” Gallup survey of 15,000 adults, more Americans are working from home today. Last year alone, 43% of those questioned by the polling agency said they spent at least some time working remotely. Employees who spent 60% to 80% of their time away from the office had the highest rates of engagement, according to the study.

Although this trend nationally is being driven by employees, not employers, it’s a good bet much, if not most, of Montecito’s home-based workers are independent, freelance professionals. When it comes to traditional employees of businesses, however, findings show that 51% of them would change jobs for flextime and 37% would move for a role that allowed remote work. Watch this interview with Gallup expert, Ed O'Boyle, who explains why the changing workplace is so important.

Based on that video, looks like the old ways of running a workplace are no longer getting the intended results from today’s employees. Instead, leaders who want to build an exceptional workplace are focusing on gaining insight into what motivates each employee. And since most workers say they love the flexibility of working from home, it’s time that employers got onboard.

another home office perfect for working form home

“Gallup consistently has found that flexible scheduling and work-from-home opportunities play a major role in an employee’s decision to take or leave a job,” the report says. “Employees are pushing companies to break down the long-established structures and policies that traditionally have influenced their workdays.”

Employers who have embraced the movement report that their employees who work from home are actually more productive than those who must report to an office. The report also suggests that the additional flexibility is helping close the gender gap.

“Nobody wants to be the female in the department who says, ‘My kid threw up on me this morning; I can’t come in,’ ” said Annie Dean, who starting Werk with Anna Auerbach. The two professionals saw a need and created this new job search company that negotiates for flexibility with employers before posting jobs. “Eighty percent of companies say they offer flexibility, but it’s a black market topic. You raise it and you’re not taken seriously.”

The chart below shows the percentages -- in different vocations or professions -- of those who work from home, or, at least, outside of a traditional office: Although widespread in today’s workplace, the shift toward remote work is not universal. Some fields that have traditionally not allowed employees flex time include community and social services; science, engineering, and architecture; and education, training, and library.

Most other industries are embracing the idea of working from home. The world of finance, insurance, and real estate industries top that list. In the transportation, computer, information systems and mathematics industries, well over half of employees work remotely some of the time.

“In spite of the additional time away from managers and co-workers, they are the most likely of all employees to strongly agree that someone at work cares about them as a person, encourages their development and has talked to them about their progress,” Gallup reported.

For those who are currently working from home or plan to make the change, here are 12 things you need to know:

  • Create a space that inspires
    Find the right space in your home that motivates your work, soothes your senses and brightens your day.
  • Determine Your Theme
    Some suggestions include monotone, minimalist, florals. The ideal theme speaks to your personal aesthetics.
  • Get organized
    No matter how ascetically pleasing your home office is, if it’s not strategically organized, it won't stay that way for long.
  • Make the most of color
    Research shows that color can elevate your mood and productivity.
  • Keep it light
    Smart lighting is essential in any room. But it’s especially important in your home office.
  • Adopt a plant
    Because no workspace is complete without a little greenery. Besides, plants help reduce stress and create a feeling of well-being.
  • Stock up on essentials
    By having everything close at hand, you won’t waste time looking for your favorite pen.
  • Set your own hours
    Studies show that those who keep regular working hours are the most productive working at home. That’s not surprising since no one's watching you from your home office. You don't necessarily feel that same peer pressure or communal obligation to get stuff done. (And you don't have to get out of your pajamas.)
  • Get started early
    Dive into your to-do list as soon as possible after you wake up. Simply getting a project started first thing in the morning can be the key to making progress on said project all day long. You no longer have that commute to wake up.
  • Act as if you are going to the office
    Set your alarm, keep regular working hours, structure your day as you would at the office, and stay focused. If you have an online calendar, create personal events and reminders that tell you when to shift gears and start on new tasks. Google Calendar makes this easy.
  • Don't mess around on social media during working hours
    We all know how easy it is to waste hours on social media. Don’t do it! consider working primarily in a private or "Incognito" browser window. Instead, use technology to stay connected with team members.
  • Pick a definitive finishing time each day

You might be under the impression that working from home establishes more work-life balance but be careful with that assumption. Working from home can also feel like being at a casino. In other words, you can get so caught up in your activity, in a relaxing environment, that you lose complete track of time. For more details on the topic, read this article.

I have the best of both worlds when it comes to my work environment. I have a lovely office in my Montecito home, but I also have access to personal space at the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices office on Coast Village Road in Montecito. I love having a flexible schedule and find it has helped me be named one of the “Top 100 Influential Real Estate Agents in Southern California” by Real Estate Executive magazine.

If you’re looking for a new home where you can work in your pajamas, why not have a look at my public and private featured listings in Montecito? Most of those distinctive properties either have an existing home office or provide plenty of space to create one. After you peruse my listings, give me a call at 805.886.9378 or email me at  We’ll arrange a tour of those listings that catch your eye. I’ll even help you set up your own home office and make sure it’s the perfect space for working from home.


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Client Reviews

“It was an emotional experience selling our mother’s home in Montecito that we all loved so much but Cristal made the process easier on our whole family by guiding us through the transaction every step of the way. She knows the market so well and everything she recommended was on point including the asking price, painting, and staging the home, which looked beautiful and helped the buyer envision her new home. We sold it the first day it hit the market with an offer above asking! Cristal did an incredible job communicating with us and the buyer to ensure that the transaction would run smoothly. We highly recommend using Cristal, she was a pleasure to work with! ”

- J & A

“Cristal is a pleasure to work with! Her knowledge of the local real estate market coupled with her amazing listening skills resulted in her showing us an array of homes that were all excellent choices. Her low-pressure patient attitude made us feel extremely comfortable with the whole process. I cannot recommend her highly enough.”

- M.F.

“Cristal Clarke is #1 in her field - and you don't become #1 by luck. Cristal works harder, and longer, and with more charm and patience than any real estate agent I have ever worked with in the past; her calendar has no weekend, her days have no clocks, her only concern is selling your property as soon as possible and for the best price on the market. Am I a fan? You bet!”

- P.B.

“We have used Cristal now several times and cannot express how grateful we are for her expertise, dedication, and unwavering support throughout the entire home-buying process. Cristal is knowledgeable, patient and attentive. Her attention to detail is remarkable, and she consistently went above and beyond to provide us with all the information and resources we needed to make informed decisions. Cristal is a skillful negotiator and advocate. She can navigate complex negotiations with professionalism and grace and felt like a true partner to us in the home-buying process. Cristal has a genuine passion for real estate and a deep commitment to her clients' satisfaction. I cannot speak highly enough of Cristal and her exceptional service. She is a true expert in her field and her dedication to excellence, combined with unwavering support is the reason we choose to work with her for all our real estate buying needs.”

- T.C.

“Cristal is a top-notch realtor who sold my home before it ever went on the market. I had two competing offers that enabled me to get top dollar for my home. Not only is Cristal superb but her team is extraordinary. I cannot say enough about Cristal and her team. They are simply phenomenal, the consummate professionals, who took care of every possible detail, making the sale and transition period, smooth from our end. They are also lovely, caring people, who knew all the right professionals, to get the job done. Thank you, everyone!”

- D.R.

“I could list lots of cool adjectives to describe Cristal. All good by the way. But, that is not why I or anyone should hire Cristal. My reason for hiring her, which proved to be correct, is very simple. She got the job done. And, she does it time and time again and with zero issues. And, that is why she is one of the top agents in the country. End of subject. ”

- M.A.

“Working with Cristal was a complete pleasure. Cristal was extremely patient with us as we evaluated nearly 2 dozen homes over a span of 2 years. Her knowledge of the market is unmatched. Cristal provided us with exceptional counsel as we evaluated opportunities and negotiated pricing. The closing process was handled thoroughly and efficiently. We could not be happier with our purchase and even more happy to now call Cristal our friend.”

- D.K.

“Cristal Clarke has conducted numerous real estate transactions for me beginning 13 years ago with the purchase of a Lemon Ranch. She has handled both large and small purchases and sales with equal dedication. As a negotiator, you can’t find anyone better. Her transactions are always conducted in the most appropriate and professional manner. Cristal has considerable knowledge of the Santa Barbara market.”

- S.N. Decker Ph.D.

“Living in Europe, we were to say the least, unaccustomed to the nuances of Real Estate acquisition in California and Cristal steered us through the process with absolute professionalism and personal attention to detail at every turn. Her in-depth knowledge of the market place combined with enthusiasm and drive was the only reason we secured the property of our dreams and will be forever grateful. If you are looking for personal discrete and private representation of the highest quality we suggest you look no further than Cristal Clarke.”

- Johan and Paula van den Berg

“Cristal is very straightforward, cheerful, helpful, professional and trustworthy….we felt very lucky to work with her.”

- John and Lacey Williams

“After considering our many choices, we are grateful it was Cristal Clarke of Sotheby’s International who represented the sale of our Montecito cottage. We are familiar with Cristal’s reputation of hard work and dedication to clients, but it was her attention to detail that made our experience so positive. She offered suggestions for staging the property, worked in harmony with potential buyers and was even able to secure back up offers. The sale of our cottage was completed much sooner than we expected, due in great part to Cristal’s professional skills and support. We highly recommend Cristal as a first choice for anyone needing representation with real estate.”

- Michael & Nancy Lee

“Our experience in working with Cristal Clarke resulted in the successful and discrete acquisition of a property which was not yet on the open market. Her knowledge of the Montecito/Santa Barbara area and vast expertise blended with her passion for real estate and architecture, provided us with the very highest level of professionalism and personalized services. Cristal exhibited a rare combination of excellent communications, attention to detail, creativity and patience.”

- Richard and Catherine Frinier

“Cristal really breaks the mold. She knows every nook and cranny of this real estate market, understands value, and follows up on everything, all the time. She was incredibly patient with our two year quest to find the perfect house. Every house hunting trip from across the country was well planned, and our time was never wasted. On top of her professionalism and expertise, she is delightful to spend time with. We are thrilled with the home we purchased, and grateful to Cristal for so wisely advising us through this process, right through to the close and beyond.”

- Laurie Siegel

“We met Cristal first in the course of renting a winter home (for three years), then buying a house using her as our agent. She was amazingly good at listening to our wants and showing us homes that fit our needs. Her mastery of the paperwork was perfect. Most importantly, there was never a situation where we doubted her straightforwardness or integrity. If we do another real estate transaction in Montecito (which I doubt, we’re happy with what we purchased), without question we’d use Cristal again.”

- Ken Saffir

“Susan and I just want to thank you for your efforts in the sale of our home. You are really quite amazing. Your competence, persistence, optimism and humor made the entire process effortless. Every problem that arose, you somehow fixed; any obstacle, you overcame. We have bought and sold many homes. It has never been such a painless and enjoyable process!”

- Michael & Susan Marquart

“A little something about “our” realtor, Cristal Clarke. My wife and I came to Santa Barbara about fifteen years ago looking for a seasonal home from which to enjoy the weather and amenities of the central coast. Being in the real estate business myself I was familiar with agents and brokers so entered the market with open eyes. We “flipped” a few houses in the early years, dealing with various agents and finally ended up in Montecito. That’s when good fortune put us together with Cristal. To say we were impressed is to put it mildly. Cristal really knows the market. She is familiar with the area, its history and trends. When we have questions about a particular property she either has the answers immediately or gets back to us by phone or email. There is no waiting or wondering with Cristal. She is an agent who is “on top of it.” Her recommendations as to price points, contractors, inspectors and title agents have proven to be exceptional, showing great insight and the highest professional standards. We consider ourselves exceedingly fortunate to say that Cristal Clarke is our realtor and would recommend her services to any serious buyer or seller.”

- Rob & Judi Kelch