- Scott Durkin is the president and COO of Douglas Elliman, a leading real estate brokerage that closed $28.7 billion in sales last year alone.
- A protege of Barbara Corcoran, Durkin has been in real estate for 30 years, but has had to navigate a new world working from home since the pandemic's onset in early March.
- He lives in an upstate New York farmhouse — a property he's had for 17 years and just put on the market — with his husband, cats, dogs, and six horses stabled nearby.
- In an interview with Business Insider, Durkin breaks down the daily routine that he says made quarantine more productive than ever.
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Scott Durkin is the president and COO of Douglas Elliman, one of the largest real estate brokerages in the US and the largest in the New York metropolitan area.
Since March 4, he hasn't been doing business from his Madison Avenue office but from his Ulster County farmhouse in upstate New York, a property he's owned for 17 years and where he's been hunkered down since the onset of the pandemic.
But he said practicing social distancing at his country home — which he shares with his husband and pets — isn't as quiet as you might think, and despite the transition to working from home, the remote workday has been busier, more demanding, and more productive than ever before.
"The day is much more filled than it was being in the office," he said. "It's hyper-focused, no distractions, you're able to get a lot more done. I have something every hour until seven tonight, it's just the way it's going."
And to top it off, Durkin just listed his country home to take advantage of the high demand in the upstate New York market. He said he's planning to build a new farmhouse, still nearby but closer to Saugerties, where he stables his horses.
A Barbara Corcoran protege, Durkin worked next to the industry titan for 26 years and said she once told him, "When I inhale, you exhale. You can't buy that and I really want you by my side." That's what he's working to give to his thousands of agents during the pandemic.
With 105 offices, over 7,000 agents, and management tasks to tend to, Zoom calls are always on Durkin's roster. While productivity at work is high, he said he's finding time to be productive personally, too, from more frequent, distanced fitness sessions with his personal trainer to weekends spent with his six horses.
Crediting much of his productivity to a well-organized calendar, Durkin told Business Insider that though not every day is the same, his schedule of hourly meetings plays a major role in how he stays on top of business.
And he let Business Insider have a look at his average day.
Wake up. These days, without needing an alarm.
The coffee maker is on autobrew, and I don't get out of bed right away. Reach for my iPhone, check the New York Post, Page Six headlines, read The [New York] Times, and flag emails.
Downstairs in my office starting the day.
Zoom session workout with my personal trainer. There are no excuses at home, I'm getting much more out of personal training.
The day starts taking off, starting with a call with Douglas Elliman's PR director, Stephen Larkin. We go over day's events, press.
Daily operations call with senior leadership at Douglas Elliman. CFO, CIO, VP of marketing, VP of PR, VP of tech, EVP of tech, all of corporate leadership. It lasts for about 45 minutes.
Then I might have a Zoom call where an agent pitches a listing and he's been invited to go virtually to meet with seller. We call that pitching a listing. I've done it at least once a week since quarantine started.
Lunch. I love a huge salad. Cucumbers and tomatoes fresh from the garden and gluten-free ramen noodles with sesame oil and scallions. Often on the back porch.
We have seven acres, lots of areas to take calls. Nice to center yourself.
A call with VP of marketing and advertising to go over upcoming advertising announcements and launches, and the new brand campaign we're looking to roll out in the first quarter of 2021. It originally launched a week before COVID, so we had to scale back for an appropriate relaunch.
Meetings have been nonstop on the hour and usually last 30 to 45 minutes. I check emails in between meetings and get ready for the next.
Today we have a Town Hall with Douglas Elliman Chairman Howard Lorber. He and I are hosting a town hall for the entire company, talking about the newest market, Houston, Texas.
We'd been looking at Houston for a while, it's one of the biggest attractors of new home sales and people relocating from around the US and internationally.
Usually a quick call with the director of operations. Check in with my immediate team, even though calls can go until 8:00 p.m. some days.
Dinner, followed by 30 minutes of Rachel Maddow's evening broadcast.
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