Q. How does remote work change the way our homes look?

A. Some people are turning the dining room into the office, sometimes for two adults who work remotely, and sometimes as a homework room. Dining moves to the kitchen or living room. We have exchanged living and dining rooms for big crowds. The same thing can happen when the dining room is the office. Office chairs move into a bedroom and sofas move into the office. The living room becomes holiday central for dining.

Q. How are developers and architects responding to the challenge of remote workers at home?

A. A spare bedroom has served as a home office for a while, but now we see that more attic spaces are being turned into the home office. People want the office to feel more remote from the living space. Often, these third floor offices have lovely views. My own dad’s office was in the basement. We called him the submarine, because he would submerge into the basement to work. We have also seen many people request a guest bedroom/office on the first floor, so that kitchen is close at hand. See above discussion about turning the dining room into the office/study. I can’t think of a recent project that did not consider office space for working from home.

Q. Do apartment buildings and homes look different because so many people are working from home?

A. Developers of multi-family housing are adding central business centers with printers, scanners, copiers, etc. These central equipment rooms serve multiple functions: they get people out of their apartments, they save space in smaller units, and they make the apartment building look updated. Viewed as an amenity like a gym, tenants expect them.

There are many people who work from home at least some of the time. I prefer not to have a dedicated home office space, because I like to move around, both at my house and at my office. At home, I like to work on my screened in porch, on my dining table, at my kitchen island, or in bed. (I know, the bed should be reserved for other activities…) At the office, sometimes I work at my small conference table, or at the big conference room table where I can spread out. Our sample room is part of the conference room, so a lot of important design work happens at that table.

As some of you know, I am a big proponent of workplace choice. Laptops and wireless connections have untethered us from the desk. If you live in big apartment/condo building with a pool, why not do your emails poolside? If you work in an office with a kitchen/lunchroom, why not bang out a proposal sitting in a booth? The world of work has changed, including what constitutes an office space. We as designers should be providing spaces that people want to be in, whether they are working, socializing or even just daydreaming.

If you want to improve your working conditions, give us a call, write us an email, or live chat by clicking on the box. We would love to design a better place for you to work…or not!

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