Since stay-at home measures were first introduced in March, we’ve been inundated with requests for adjustments that support a work from home environment – and now that it looks like we’ll be working from home for the foreseeable future, a lot of new customers are considering revisions to their home designs to better facilitate their revised priorities – both in terms of home office spaces and the functionality of the home more broadly.
Customers are keener than ever to make their floor plan work harder for them, and with that in mind, here are some of the trends we’re predicting will emerge with regard to home building in a post-Covid landscape.
A shift from home office to office-at-home
Working from home isn’t a new concept, but with the introduction of homeschooling, having an office that’s a truly optimised working environment is more important than before. Home offices that were fit for purpose prior to Covid are now being expected to function in new ways, and we’re getting lots of requests when it comes to minimising distractions and minimising disruption to the working day. Offices that previously had to only accommodate one person are now required to accommodate couples, or indeed entire households in some instances with remote learning.
Here are our top 5 recommendations when it comes to revising your home office:
Doors attached to offices – the trend of home offices has traditionally favoured open plan, but with the increased distraction resulting from more people being home at any given time, doors on office spaces have become a must to minimise distractions and allow for stretches of uninterrupted work.
Hardwired data points – we’ve always encouraged our customers to carefully consider their data needs when deciding on data point [and power point] placement in a new build, but it’s never been more important than now, with a struggling NBN and WiFi connectivity issues listed among the top frustrations when it comes to working from home. A small investment at the time of your build can save a lot of headaches later, when different family members are vying for prime connectivity.
Soundproofing. Additional soundproofing is one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce noise-related distractions in your workplace. Whether you limit noise attenuation to your workspace or level it up throughout your home, it’s an investment that pays dividends for your mental health.
Dedicated workspaces for kids – as distance learning becomes the new normal, we’re having to get creative with new spaces for the kids to work, too. We’re predicting that quiet study nooks throughout homes and bedroom designs that factor in a space to work will become more commonplace.
Increased attention on finer details like wallpaper and joinery– with meetings being conducted out of home offices digitally, we’ll see an increase in requests for feature walls and fine detailing on surfaces that will be visible to those outside the home. Office aesthetic will become more important as we effectively welcome our colleagues into our homes each day.
Extra emphasis on design that supports mental and physical wellbeing
In addition to the home office, customers will be craving home designs that offer design flexibility that supports their mental and physical health. From the ability to create space and distance when required through to having designated spaces for particular activities, designs that reduce the existential stress of constant togetherness are becoming more mainstream considerations. Some of these considerations might include:
Extra living spaces to allow families to have some down time from each other without needing to retreat to a bedroom or to limit particular activities to certain areas within the come, containing mess and limiting disruption to the work-from home environment.
Dedicated wellness spaces – as gyms and fitness facilities become more limited in their ability to trade, customers will be requesting innovations to help them prioritise their physical and mental health and building dedicated practice spaces into the home to accommodate training, meditation, or yoga.
Parents’ retreats – already a favourite in the master bedroom, building a luxurious adults-only retreat space in will help parents get the down-time they need in order to recharge themselves each day, or just to provide somewhere quiet and comfortable to sit and enjoy a morning coffee.
Designated activity areas – for families with children, isolation presents a different set of challenges. Having designated areas for children to play, or designated media or theatre rooms where they can relax and watch a movie are more vital than ever in maintaining family harmony.
Dual alfresco areas – If people are spending more time in their homes, it makes sense that they’ll want to bring the outdoors in as much as possible. Multiple functional outdoor areas and architect-inspired biophilic design will help customers feel connected to nature even when they can’t leave their front gate.
Extra storage – there’s nothing more threatening to home harmony than a cluttered living space, and having additional storage space by way of walk-in robes, larger pantries and hallway cupboards provide additional capacity for organisation to keep the home a pleasant environment to live in.
Looking to the long-term
Of course, we’re all hoping for a swift end to the Covid crisis and a return to some semblance of normal life on the other side. We’re confident that the short-term changes our customers are making to adapt to the current climate will also serve them well in the long term, as the functional elements of their homes change to reflect the shifts in their lives and priorities.
We’re really proud to be able to offer the flexibility that our customers crave in a time of need, and are committed to working with every Arden Home buyer to ensure that their build is fit for purpose and can adapt to meet their ongoing needs.