Let’s face it. The home office is here to stay. Not only are some major employers already announcing that workers won’t return to the office this year, others like Twitter have decided to never return to the buildings they once occupied. This is just the beginning.
Office space and office amenities are expensive. Very expensive. And now that companies have been forced to invest in work-from-home technologies and discovered that their employees can successfully work from home, they will be eager to shed expenses like ten-year commercial leases, cafeteria subsidies, networked copiers, closets full of office supplies, and the salaries of the employees needed to support this stuff (sorry folks).
If you are one of those new work-from-home employees, you may be looking at your home in a different light. It’s not just where you live, it’s now also where you work. But does it work? Here are some of the ways that working from home will change the way you think about your home:
A dedicated work space
You may be making do by working at the kitchen table or in the little “nook” you created in the corner of your bedroom, but this won’t be sustainable for the long term. A dedicated home office will soon become one of the most sought after amenities in homes across the country. Whether it’s a converted living room, a quiet corner in the basement, an extra bedroom or space over the garage, you will need a place where you can separate yourself from the rest of your family and avoid distractions like kids, pets, dirty dishes and laundry.
Room for two (or more)
For most of us, having one great work space will be our goal but what happens when you, your spouse and your children all need to work from home? Consider making your home office usable by multiple people or creating dedicated homework stations throughout your home.
Made for TV backdrop
Now that we’re all Zooming instead of doing face to face meetings, coworkers and strangers are getting a glimpse into our homes (good or bad). You don’t want others to see your messy kitchen counter, inappropriate artwork or exploding closet. If you can’t use a virtual background, make sure your home office space has an appropriate backdrop that looks professional and has proper lighting.
A smart home
Your old, slow internet connection just won’t do any longer. Be sure that your home has enough bandwidth to handle life and work over the internet. You’ll probably also need room for a nice printer/scanner since you won’t have access to that networked behemoth at your old office. On a positive note, you won’t spend half the day fixing the jammed paper or empty toner cartridge that one of your coworkers left for you. And don’t forget to install a Ring doorbell so you can see who’s at the door and speak to the Amazon delivery person without leaving your home office.
Take a break
One recent study by NordVPN found that American workers are putting in about three more hours of work each day since the switch to work-at-home. Ouch. Make sure your home has a place (or places) to get away from work. A deck, patio, or porch swing are perfect for taking a break. Homes with yards will become more popular even with younger, city dwellers than in the past. And now that you’ve lost access to that free gym at the office, consider a home gym to burn off some of that work stress.
Location, location, location
For many homeowners, the locations of their homes were selected to make commutes to work easier. Now the commute is from the bedroom to the basement! Reconsider the location of your home now that home and office are one-in-the-same.
About a third of employed adults have shifted to work-at-home during the pandemic. While it’s difficult to know how many will remain in home offices in the future, there’s no reason to believe that this trend won’t continue long-term. If you want or need to find a new home that’s better suited to your new work-at-home needs, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I'm (at home) ready to take your call...or Zoom.
About the Author
Mark Cipolletti is a licensed Realtor based in Richmond, Virginia. Before pursuing a career in real estate, Mark spent 25 years as a marketing and communications executive and consultant. He now uses those skills to market his client's homes at the highest level. Mark is also a real estate investor, having acquired investment properties to flip and to rent. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 804-482-1347.