A home office: the new must-have for any property
Lockdown will change the way we work because it brought the biggest social experiment about home working ever. Consequently, except for key workers, all businesses, wherever possible, had to plan for their staff to work from home. And, after four months the consensus is that overall, working from home is a success. Now, however, there are ongoing discussions about how and if people will return to their previous places of work. Indeed, many businesses are looking to adopt some elements of home working into their forward strategy. So, what does that mean for homeowners, what will their home office look like?
Focus on what is important
I speak to Michael Holden, Senior Associate Director, Strutt & Parker in Cambridge to find what house buyers are looking for before giving some tips about the essentials for a productive working space.
Michael says: “The last four months have given people the time and space to take stock of their lives and lifestyles and focus on what is important to them. One of the consequences of this, for the housing market, is that people have reassigned what they thought they needed against what they have. And the result is a busy and optimistic Cambridge housing market.”
Michael confirms that estate agents are seeing an increase in demand for a home office, and this is a trend he expects to outlive the impacts of COVID
So, what are people looking for in a home office? Michael shares his thoughts: “We are noticing that when people must work from home, they do not want to feel like they are in an office: they want their home office to be a space that reflects them. They are looking for a place to work with a lovely view of the garden, perhaps a studio or a room with good natural light.” He continues, “I keep going back to ‘quality of life and the work-life balance’. My clients list these as their top priorities, which will, in many cases now include an element of home working.”
Inspiration for your home office
At scuseme, we are finding this trend reflected in many of the inquiries we receive. Our builders and handymen are seeing many requests for creating exciting home office spaces. These range from mounting shelves in a small alcove to transforming a garage or shed or building a garden studio.
Working in a key industry during lockdown, my son took over our small study, while my husband and I set up temporary workstations elsewhere. Zoom work meetings allowed a brief glimpse into a wide range of home office spaces, and some inspiration for this article. Nonetheless, whatever your workspace there are three key things that top the list when it comes to inspiring productivity in a home office: comfortable furniture, natural light, and uncluttered surfaces.
So whether you have a room dedicated as your office or just a wall to prop your desk against, here are some ideas you can use if you are considering creating your home office.
The perfect spot
Look around your home and I am sure you will find a space that is used inefficiently. The hallway or space overlooks a window for example. And you don’t even need much space; a ½- 1 metre square will be enough.
Under the stairs
Make use of the often-neglected space under the stairs and realise its hidden potential by transforming it into a cozy home office.
Against a wall
What’s the minimum you need to create an office at home? A desk and a chair. So prop a small desk or small table against a wall and you have your office. A desk with a shelf unit above is a useful investment. And if your wall space is really restricted at your home, you can get drop-down desk that can be stored away afterward.
Hi or low
Building in a basement or up into a loft is a fantastic way to add more living space to your home but there are a lot of issues to address to first establishing it is right for your home. However, if you already have a cellar or loft space you can use that existing precious space to create a study.
The lovely thing about a home office is that you can personalize it as much as you like. Try using plants and photographs – unlike the one photo on your desk in your business office, you can surround yourself with whatever you want in your home space.
Feature a room
Quite often you may find that the only space for a home office is within an existing room. Why not make an office feature of the room by integrating the interior design, blending the colors and furniture. You can also tuck your office away behind a statement wall at the end of the day.
An office in the garden would be my personal favorite: combining the benefits of physically leaving the house to go to work with the convenience and holistic satisfaction of working in a beautiful space within your garden. A garage or shed conversion goes some way to delivering the same benefits.
If you would like to discuss ideas for your home office or share what you have done we would love to hear from you. Get in touch here.
Dawn Giesler, is the founder of scuseme Cambridge, an online marketplace that connects you with personally vetted tradespeople in your community. She has lived in Cambridge for over 20 years and offers advice based on her own experiences. For more information visit scuseme
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