There’s quiet unrest in offices across the capital as more and more people seek to work from home. Does your home meet the job description?
The number of people working from home has soared to 1.5 million, according to official figures by the TUC released this summer – that’s nearly a quarter of a million more than a decade ago. Unsurprisingly judging by the amount of mum-preneurs in Nappy Valley, the biggest growth area has been among women, with 35 per cent more working from home in 2015 than in 2005 and so, as is frequently the case, London is at the coalface of this changing dynamic.
In order to remain switched on and tuned in, combining a home office with a city-centre hot desk is becoming a very popular option, with flexi business spaces such as We Work, The Treehouse, Battersea Studios and The Clubhouse thriving. “A number of our members are entrepreneurs based at home who want a break from their domestic environment a few days a week to interact with other like-minded business people, hold meetings in a professional and productive space or just have a change of scene to stay focused and inspired,” explains Adam Blaskey, founder of The Clubhouse in Mayfair. “The trend for people to combine working from home with a desk at a co-working space in central London is here to stay.”
But what does this mean for the property market? Whether you choose to adapt your property to attract the buyers of the future who may want to work from home, or take the plunge and persuade your employer that you should join the new workspace revolution, both require some planning. From getting your tech sorted to creating a work-efficient environment, there’s lots to think about.
“Converting an existing room is the easiest way to create an area dedicated to working from home. Better still – a garden room is a wonderful way to reap the benefits of working from home while creating a bit of distance between your domestic and professional spaces,” says Luke Parle of Portico. Creating a separate space is possibly the most work-conducive option if you have the money and will certainly give you the edge when it comes to selling your property to millennials in the future. Garden rooms and office pods can be ultra-modern, often in contrast to the existing property, benefitting from natural light and bespoke layout. Basement conversions are prime spaces for home offices too, with cosy rooms away from the hub of the house, perfect to hole yourself up in and forget about the breakfast dishes scattered around the kitchen.
So before you end up with your PC on a table mat and a cat-laden newspaper by your side, you need to take time to prepare. When planning your home office, entrepreneur.com suggest you ask yourself the following questions:
What will you be doing in the space?
What type of work needs to be done?
Will external clients be visiting the space?
Will colleagues visit for collaborative work?
What type of materials will be referenced and/or stored?
What type of equipment is required?
When will I be doing the bulk of my work?
Will I be making conference calls?
Will I be video conferencing?
Once you’ve answered those questions, you can claim your space and start creating the distinction between home and work that is crucial to productivity. First, ensure your workspace is somewhere you can be away from the distractions of the everyday. They will have to wait. Then, write a to-do list which includes the times you will do things – and keep checking in with it. Always start the day with a routine – get up, get dressed and have breakfast. Now you’re not commuting, use that extra time to complete household chores, squeeze in a workout or walk the dog. While taking regular breaks as you would in the office will help keep you fresh and focused, do take the time to check in regularly with colleagues and contacts – it’ll prove that working from home is only having a positive impact on your productivity.
Whilst choosing paint colours and pin boards is the fun bit, what about the all-important tech side? The most important service you’ll need is quick internet connection so you can maximise your download speeds. According to Which?, the only way to actually change your broadband speed is if you switch to a faster fibre broadband deal. But you can make a few adjustments on your existing provider which may make a difference, such as chafing your router, connecting your router to your primary phone socket or even physically moving to your router, so changing your external phone line to enter your house where your office is could make a huge difference. Keeping your broadband network secure so others don’t use it and clog up your connection is key, and continually updating your browser also helps. It’s worth checking out local Mac and PC doctors who can provide a home service to keep everything running smoothly as you’ll soon miss not having the IT desk on the end of the phone.
Finally, enjoy a quick end-of-day commute to the kitchen, pour yourself a well-deserved tipple and bask in your expertly executed work-life balance.
How to make your property work for you – advice from our property partners:
Don’t dismiss top-floor bedrooms – with the right furniture and furnishings they can easily convert into a professional space.
A separate, elegant study with dedicated storage is a sophisticated, timeless option.
Create a separate zone like this conservatory home office, which benefits from natural light and distance from the main hub of the house.
An office pod in the garden is one of the most sought-after, bespoke options.
CAT 5E cabling throughout a home means the internet will be through the Ethernet and should provide similar strengths to office connections.
Reimagining your space can open up new possibilities – in this house the owners moved the reception upstairs and use the front room as an office/meeting room.