By Ash Sheikh, Sales and Marketing Director of Muir Homes
Working from home or a combination of shared work between home and office is here to stay. All the evidence points to the hybrid work model persisting and even growing for the foreseeable future. Home is indeed the new office.
For office professions, working from home during several lockdowns has allowed workers to reassess what is important to them: living in a more rural or coastal location, away from the city; a chance to relocate to be closer to family, or simply more space inside and outside the home. And for many professionals, greater flexibility is a major consideration in accepting a job offer or staying where they are.
In March 2022, a study by consulting firm Kantar indicated that 86% of 18-24 year olds wanted to spend an average of 56% of their working week at home, while 86% of 25-39 year olds wanted to work. at home 60% of the week.
These patterns and trends are confirmed in the private housing sector. At Muir Homes, where we offer the full range of properties, demand for apartments without a garden or balcony has dropped, and we are now seeing a steady increase in the share of young buyers for large detached and semi-detached properties in semi- rural.
About 60% of buyers of our large homes (4 bedrooms and more) intend to work in the office two days a week; and of the last ten homes we have delivered – The Blairs, in Aberdeen – four new owners intend to work from home only.
There will always be a need for the occasional trip to the office or a visit to a client, good connections to road, rail and air transport networks are a fundamental ingredient for successful remote work. When Muir chooses new sites for development, this connectivity requirement is always in mind.
Unlike in the US, where affluent teleworkers are often cited as requiring something special to improve their home working environment, such as air filtration systems, Scottish teleworkers’ requirements are instead more modest and predictable.
Spending more time working from home means super-fast broadband is a must. Many buyers are quite aware of the broadband speeds available in the area when they come to view a property. Soaring energy prices, environmental concerns and increased time spent at home mean that interest in energy efficiency ratings has never been higher in our new homes.
People working from home often have a shared office in the house – we offer multiple power outlets. Ethernet cable and additional attachment points for ultimate flexibility throughout the home to help homeowners get connected from day one.
Space and how to make the most of it are almost as important as broadband speeds. We often have buyers who ask for very specific dimensions in order to see where best to place their desks or drawing boards.
We do not expressly designate any area as a home office, but in our show homes we aim to demonstrate the range of possibilities for successfully creating separate work spaces within open spaces. This could be by using simple divider mechanisms such as room dividers or bookcases.
Given that bedrooms are often used as home offices (Zoopla estimates that 5 million bedrooms in the UK have been converted into home offices), it’s not a leap of the imagination for us to dress a third or a fourth bedroom, to illustrate a home office arrangement.
We need to design homes that provide convenient workspace without losing the comfort and sense of sanctuary after a busy day at the office we call home.