Following a year of lockdowns and working from home, people are looking at their properties in a different light. Living close to their place of work is less of a priority, with other desirable qualities shooting to the top of the list.
The Office for National Statistics has found that before 2020 around 70 per cent of Britons had never worked from home. Overnight this changed, with an estimated 20 million people suddenly working from living rooms, kitchens and bedrooms.
As the benefits of the home office became clear, including no lengthy commute, more quiet time to focus and shorter meetings, many people expressed their desire to keep working flexibly in the future.
A survey of 4,500 workers carried out by Zurich Insurance found that 59 per cent of those questioned would prefer to spend more than half of their workweek at home.
With people looking at using their home as an office for the long-term, it is not surprising that owners’ and house buyers’ requirements have changed.
Online home renovation platform Houzz reports that flexible indoor space has become a priority as people balance work, homeschooling and leisure time.
Spaces that double as office space during the working week but that can be restored to a living area the rest of the time are important for home workers. Spare rooms are being given a makeover to allow them to function as both a bedroom and an office and maybe even a gym or a space for working out.
The platform also noted a huge increase in searches for ‘small offices’ and ‘garden offices.’
Housebuilder Redrow had similar findings when it conducted a survey of 2,000 adults about their wishes for their homes, with space to work comfortably being one of the highest priorities.
Gardens became a haven during the sunny spring and summer of 2020. Working at home means that a ten-minute coffee break can be taken outside and for families the extra space of a garden is a huge benefit.
For many buyers, Redrow found that a garden was the top priority.
The housebuilder also noted that broadband had become a necessity. Without it, working from home was frustrating, if not impossible, and during lockdown it was essential for maintaining social contacts and for entertainment as well.
The quality of broadband connectivity is now one of the first questions that potential buyers ask about, considering it to be a vital utility, like water and electricity.
Energy efficiency and sustainability
Houzz also found that energy efficiency and sustainability are high priorities for renovators as home electrical use increases.
If homeworking becomes the norm, homes will increasingly become more flexible and cleverly designed spaces.
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