The COVID-19 pandemic has forced a lot of us to change how we live and work. For many, adapting to working from home was a challenge at first — everything from IT issues to finding a suitable workspace in our homes to boosting our Internet speed.
But many agents have discovered that not only CAN they work from home quite successfully, they are also more productive working from home and gain a lot of time by not having to commute. And most really enjoy it. At first agents were reluctant to leave their call centre or agency office but many are now happily working from home and realizing the many benefits.
Sadly, the COVID-19 pandemic will likely cause some travel agency closures in Canada – or at the very least, require a reduction in the number of agents an agency will support. So, just like after the financial crisis of 2008 – which spurred on the host agency and home-based agent trend that swept the U.S. and the U.K. and, to a lesser degree, Canada – this crisis will likely bring about a further growth in the home-based segment of the industry.
This is an excellent time for every travel agent to ask themselves, “Do I really want to go back to the office?”
If your answer is “maybe not” or “not really” or “definitely not” then you owe it to yourself to explore becoming a home-based agent permanently. You have time right now to ponder this and investigate the options for the support you will need.
For those agents who were always afraid to take the leap of working from home and becoming independent, they are now turning to host agencies like The Travel Agent Next Door. And they are switching in big numbers.
“I am booked solid, almost 7 days a week on calls with agents who want to join,” said Flemming Friisdahl, TTAND founder. “Many office and call centre agents have seen the light about the benefits of working from home, plus they are amazed at how much more commission they can earn by being independent after we have a conversation.
“Although COVID 19 has created many challenges for our industry, just like many other industries, it is re-shaping the thinking and future of how we can all work from home with the added benefit for agents who join to be their own boss without all the overhead and costs,” he added.
Quite apart from the obvious benefits of zero commute, flexible hours, a better work/life balance and considerable savings and tax advantages – the biggest benefit of all is that you will likely earn way more commission and you get to keep it!
In a national survey of travel agents conducted just this past January, agents who worked in offices or call centres said they hate their commute, dislike office gossip and worried about a lack of work/ life balance. Now, thousands of agents have had to work from home due to COVID-19 and have had a taste of what it’s like … and they’re loving it.