Living Where You Work, Working Where You Live

Developing for the Future

As the pandemic continues to be a part of our daily lives, working from home for many has gone from a temporary experience to a complete change in lifestyle and daily routine. From increases to productivity to time and dollars saved in associated expenses, those with the opportunity to work from home are hoping to make it their new normal.

For those that haven’t had the time and opportunity to plan how to best work at home, the challenges of having to deal with noise, lighting, and space issues have become a bigger concern. This concern is very likely to inform their living situation when considering their next move.

Developers have already been providing  shared working spaces in newer developments, but the reality is that those spaces for many don’t offer the convenience or safety of working from within their homes. In markets where space is already at a premium, creative solutions to the problem of working comfortable from home on a daily basis are more important than before. And for those in the market for a new place to live, how their new home can accommodate work will likely be a crucial deciding factor.

Here are some important considerations for those working from home –

  • Noise – while many can just put on a set of headphones and work anywhere, background noise can be a real distraction during times when concentration is needed, or when speaking to others remotely. Giving people a space that combines some noise isolation and the ability to have separation between their home and work lives, at least from the perspective of their background, is something to consider.
  • Appearance – with video calls being so popular, people are now realizing how much of their personal lives are suddenly on display. And very few people, or homes, are camera-ready all of the time. Being able to have a workspace that reflects their personality while maintaining some privacy, or even a more neutral background, allows them to participate without distraction.
  • Dedicated Space – temporarily talking over the dining room table makes it challenging when you’re working on a project, needing to have materials at hand, or just need room to keep things organized over time. A clean workspace or table, whether it be a kitchen table converted to a desk or a dedicated workstation, that is comfortable to sit or stand up and work from, is a must. You should also ensure that you have storage areas nearby that can accommodate working materials so you can remain productive.

So how can developers address these concerns? Some potential ideas for addressing these concerns include –

  • Efficiently designed, dedicated workspaces – areas outside of the bedroom are an ideal destination for work, allowing people to mentally and physically separate their recreational area with your work areas. Since that’s not always possible in smaller apartments, work nooks in a bedroom, if positioned correctly, can have someone isolated from the traffic of common areas at home, and provide a quieter environment, especially for things like calls and video conferences. However, positioning and recommended furniture placement ideas, which can be demonstrated in models and floor plan renderings, can give suggestions on how to preserve privacy while accommodating things like video calls.
  • Creative use of built-ins and modular pieces – The use of in-wall space for storage, built-in work surfaces, or even providing or recommending certainly modular furniture pieces as options, can help make working from home seem more feasible and practical. Examples include the breakfast nook with storage that can accommodate a desk, kitchen islands that can double as work surfaces when more than one person is working from home or can also serve as a desk.

For those working from home, there are some often-overlooked things that can make the experience better –

  • An emotional anchor – any special object that makes you happy or calm, such as a plant, or a photo, or even a colorful water bottle, that anchors your workspace.
  • Making time for yourself – setting a target time each day for yourself to close your laptop, shut down your emails, and recalibrate and relax. Enjoy dinner with your friends, family,  or just yourself, put on a favorite TV show, or reconnect with someone in your network.

We’ll continue to share creative ideas for addressing these needs and look forward to hearing yours!

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