Is your home ready to become a permanent workplace?
Working from home is here to stay.
Working from home was already a growing trend before the pandemic. And with it, the growth of remote workers has been exponential. Fully remote and Hybrid (work-from-home and office) workers were estimated to be 60% of all American workers at some point in 2021. And with COVID contagions up, more people are still working from home…and some will never go back!
What a home office needs
So, for the foreseeable future, your home will also be your office. It would help if you created a more permanent workspace solution that is functional and inspires your productivity. Ideally, a home office must have:
- Privacy: enough space for comfort and isolation from noise and distractions, essential for those long Zoom calls. If the square footage of your home does not allow for that, then consider investing in a quality set of Bluetooth headphones to help you focus.
- Work surfaces: enough for your computer, documents, printers, blueprints, etc., that you need on hand. Add a stand-up desk converter to change positions during work hours.
- A comfortable chair with added back support. Or try an ergonomic yoga chair to exercise while working; they even come in a wide range of colors.
- Lighting: a key and sometimes overlooked element. Correct lighting is conducive to longer productive hours, more engaging remote meetings, and a better personal mood. Be creative, Himalayan salt lamps will add a soothing vibe to your office.
- Storage: your home is now where essential documents, files, samples, and many others are kept. File cabinets have evolved from grey and beige; now you can find useful and decorative options.
Think again about how you use your living spaces
Bringing the right furniture and fixtures into your property will achieve some of these objectives. Privacy and lighting will usually take an investment in renovations. Some will require to professionally build a separate space, isolated from the rest of the house. An example of this is psychologists and therapists, a profession in which patient privacy is critical.
If you live in an older single-family home, you might have a formal living room. They were planned to allow a family to meet visitors, while not exposing private living spaces.
With the pandemic, those visits are less frequent, but your need to have a quiet room for virtual meetings increases. You can partition a formal living room to create a private office by adding barn doors. There is no framing or drywall work needed. Just install the tracks above and buy a pair of doors that are slightly wider than the opening.
Making your home a place of work requires taking a hard look at how you use and prioritize your spaces. Some walls might have to come up or down; flooring changed, electrical installations modified, all at a cost.
Renovations might be a good investment
Will that investment payout? If you own the house and work from there, the increased productivity of a well-designed home office certainly pays out. You can also deduct some expenses related to the use of your home as your own office from your federal income tax. Please confirm with your tax professional.
If you own the house to sell or rent it, consider that it is likely that your potential buyer or tenant will be a remote worker. So if your property contains a well-designed home office, it will be more attractive for this growing segment of homebuyers.
The dust from the work-from-home revolution is far from settled. It will have profound consequences on how we live, do business, and our living arrangements. I hope that this article inspires you to better adapt to those inevitable changes.