How Will the Modern Home Change With Everyone Working From Home?
According to a recent Stanford study, 42% of the U.S. workforce has been working remotely full-time since the initial COVID-19 lockdowns began. A smaller study that surveyed 1,022 professionals claims that, of that number, 29% would quit their jobs if they had to strap on their Oxford browns and return back to the office. While these are merely preliminary numbers gathered in the midst of a pandemic, it’s becoming clear that working from home (WFH) is here to stay.
At The CE Shop, we’ve assimilated into a remote working environment that has seen both positives and negatives. After a lengthy discussion during a recent virtual happy hour, many employees felt that the following were the benefits and downsides of going remote.
|No commute||Communication issues|
|More free time to do errands||Fewer water cooler stories|
|Flexible scheduling||Decrease in creativity and new ideas|
|Fresh lunches||Decrease in socialization|
|Comfy work clothes||Isolation|
|Easier to get workouts in||More scheduling conflicts|
|Create a more customized work environment||Zoom fatigue|
|More time to do chores||Slower acclimation to new social landscapes (such as starting a remote position with a new company)|
|More time with pets||Greater need to have defined office space so as to create clear work/life boundaries|
|Save money (gas, pet care, less eating out, etc.)|
|No rushing out the door|
This list could probably go on for miles, but it became pretty obvious to us that the advantages of going remote outweighed the negatives. Simply put, WFH has allowed all of us to live a better quality of life.
This in-depth and personal conversation led us to contemplate the “modern home” when it comes to WFH. How will consumer needs and wants change when it comes to renovating or purchasing a new home?
WFH’s Influence on the Modern Home
Remote work has made many of use rethink how we utilize our home space, especially when it comes to our offices. Before, massive clutter with books sitting on our chairs, papers on the floor, and a decor that looks more like a man-cave than an office was the norm. But now that our daily lives revolve around jumping on Zoom and showcasing our backgrounds, we’ve begun molding our office space to reflect what it was like when we actually showed up to work. This means more computer screens for analytical work, tidier and more minimalist design to better reflect ourselves to our bosses, colleagues, and clients, and finally investing in a chair that we actually intend to use on a regular basis.
We were okay with the ineffectiveness of our home desks before, but now that they’ve become entwined with our work lives, change was needed. And for those stuck in small apartments who had to use the cramped dining room table next to a 26-inch plasma TV, searching for bigger homes with an extra room will be highly valued. As you’ll see throughout this blog, having more space is the number one goal of WFH people.
Bold Prediction for the Future: Client-facing companies will look to invest in branding our home office space. Marketing paraphernalia promoting brand logos, coloring, and designs will become necessary features to unify workers and help us to work together cohesively, even from a distance.
As we adjust to our new situations, there will be an increased demand for large backyards when it comes to choosing our next home. That’s not to say this isn’t already a popular desire of most homeowners; it will simply become more necessary for adapting to WFH life.
Having a large backyard provides the ability to work while the kids and pets can roam free without any fear of danger. It will provide a small piece of tranquility for workers when they need to take a quick break from their screens. We will also be able to switch things up when the weather gets warmer and work from outside. An expansive backyard extends our freedom beyond our restricting homes to help relieve stress and offers an outlet for activity during the work day.
Bold Prediction for the Future: Home gardening will become a popular hobby, given the freedom WFH allows. This will increase self-sustainability and promote healthier eating habits thanks to our newfound passion for growing tomatoes and cucumbers.
While the size of homes should increase to meet spatial needs, the actual size of rooms will decrease as we need a greater number of rooms. Whether it’s watching young children at home or multiple WFHomers living in the same household, having more rooms for each resident allows everyone to have their own private space to hold Zoom meetings, take virtual yoga classes, or jam out to Frozen 2 for the billionth time. Having separate dividers will be even more important than the size of the home itself. Surprisingly, workers will get away from corporate office space only to recreate that office space at home. It’s a necessary evil that could squash our current minimalistic desire for open concept layouts.
Bold Prediction for the Future: We will finally begin to embrace technology and sync the home. While companies like Amazon and Google have emphasized the benefits of connecting the home for quite some time, most people either haven’t gotten around to it or simply do not care. Add in an additional 40-60 hours of tarrying at home, and this sudden need for convenience will surpass any previously held apathy.
The days of paying for WiFi could soon be over. For most full-time W-2 receivers, companies could soon consider WiFi to be a work expense that they should cover. That means faster, more reliable internet coming to workers’s homes.
Unless you run a brokerage, real estate agents may not receive this perk due to their independent contractor status. However, options like this may be an advantage for brokerages to add to their offerings when recruiting agents for their team. It will be exciting to see how a brokerage would market this benefit moving forward.
Bold Prediction for the Future: Companies will make sure to include a full WiFi package that includes entertainment like cable channels and a work telephone. These enterprises will already be saving upwards of tens of thousands in rent per year, allowing for a surplus to invest in an all-inclusive WiFi package.
Car space may not be as necessary thanks to the reduced need for transportation. People will still want to have a car (how else can one make a 16-hour “day trip” to Disney World, only for Space Mountain to close down due to an unknown smell lingering in its vast darkness?), but now that everyone is home 80% of the time, people will want fewer cars. And fewer cars means less of a need for garage space.
Garages will still be a mainstay of the modern home; they’ll just be smaller. The need for space will be redistributed to other parts of the home for extra rooms, such as providing privacy from the child who may have been that source for the unknown smell that ruined that trip to Disney.
Bold Prediction for the Future: The current excess space in our garages will be used for new hobbies like woodworking, homecrafting, and something we’re about to discuss next: working out. The extra car that the homeowner can sell could fund these projects.
Working from home provides the advantage of not having to spend hours in a car driving to and from work. In exchange, we now have extra time on our hands that we can use to better our lives. One of those ways could be to combat the unhealthy consequences of not moving from the couch for14 hours straight by working out.
Since the dawn of the modern home, men and women have desired extra space for burning calories. It might be a Harry Potter-sized cupboard or an entire garage, but regardless of its size, having this room to house a NordicTrack treadmill (not a sponsor) or Peloton bike (also not a sponsor) will be less of a luxury and more of a necessity for staying in physical and mental shape to combat WFH stangnance.
Bold Prediction for the Future: An alien race will invade and take over our world, forcing us all to embrace a penal utility item called “the treadwheel.” This will be a terrifying event but at least we’ll have calves like Adonis. Thanks a lot, William Cubitt!
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