The forced experiment has proven that working from home is viable for a lot of people. Apart from the benefit of keeping people safer from circulating disease, it reduces the number of people on roads and public transport, it saves operating costs for business and even allows them to consider a smaller business space moving forward.
People are coming out of lockdown with fresh perspectives and values. Where working from home is an ongoing option then many are considering lifestyle relocations now that proximity to where they work isn’t as important.
But as we move into a future that is highly likely to have a growing focus on working from home, how could this impact on what we look for in a house?
A separate study has become a very desirable feature – not just a “would be nice” on a wish list. The ability to have sensitive conversations in private is important as is the ability to be able to concentrate; to have a separate space for your work life. What if you have two people from the same household working from home? Could the home of the future have two studies?
The ability to section off heating and cooling to studies and work areas will also become increasingly important. Previously when people were home they weren’t working and were using all areas of the house. Now, often the majority of time 9-5 is spent in the one room or area. Heating or cooling the whole house is inefficient and expensive meaning the home of the future will provide far more flexibility in this area.
Mindset is key to a successful working from home lifestyle and that comes with delineation between business and home. When it comes to layout of your working area, that’s personal choice (as long as it’s ergonomically sound), but a good trick is to paint the study in a totally different colour theme to the rest of the house and embrace a different style for furniture and fixtures. Do what you can to ensure that when you open the study door in the morning, there are lots of visual cues to disengage you from your home life and reset your brain into work mode.
Where a study is positioned in a house may become more than floorplan considerations. It’s important that the study window provides you with the ability to look up from your screen regularly and exercise your long distance vision. And when it comes to looking after your health, remember that you are less likely at home to get up and move around with the same frequency as you do in an office, so set a timer on your PC to remind you to get up and walk around, getting the blood flowing to your limbs and brain.
So while kitchen tables, spare rooms and dining room tables may be the current working from home space, there’s a whole lot of opportunity for designers – both of houses and interiors to apply some clever thinking to this issue.