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Dreaming of a Happier Home Office

Four charts that illustrate the reality of pandemic home office life and the opportunities for builders.
Buyers at Lighthouse by Taylor Morrison in Costa Mesa, Calif., can work in the informal dining room, which offers plentiful storage to keep work materials organized and within reach

Buyers at Lighthouse by Taylor Morrison in Costa Mesa, Calif., can work in the informal dining room, which offers plentiful storage to keep work materials organized and within reach

Goodbye, backpacks, and briefcases in the dropzone. Hello, kitchen tables covered with laptops and files. With remote work and virtual school unavoidable in many parts of the country, many homeowners are taking hard looks at both their dedicated and hastily assembled home offices for themselves and their kids--and finding those spaces wanting.

Here are four charts that show what’s happening and the opportunities for builders, based on an August 2020 survey of more than 1,242 homeowners by John Burns Real Estate Consulting’s Design Lens

 

1. Home Office Woes

Work From Home Office
Remote work and virtual school has exposed the shortcomings of many people’s home office spaces, particularly those who have children under 12. While fewer than half (48%) of mature singles and couples want to improve their work-from-home setup, more than three-quarters (78%) of young families do, according to DesignLens research.

 

2. The Dining Room's New Mission: Providing a Workspace in the Pandemic

The Dining Room
During the pandemic, Americans are doing their jobs from any available space in their homes, from dedicated home offices to family rooms. Builders can help by providing storage in common areas (such as dining rooms) that homeowners can use for work materials.

 

3. Buyers Need Flexible Secondary Workspaces

Buyers
While “Zoom rooms” may not be the best use of space, builders should consider featuring flexible areas that buyers could use as secondary work locations, particularly for voice and video work calls, according to DesignLens’ research. Young families with children under 12 are the most interested in such a space.

 

4. Tough Decisions

Tough Decisions

Just about every buyer segment says they are willing to give something up to improve their workspace. But builders need to carefully consider their target markets before they adjust floor plans to respond to this need. “Consumers are open to tradeoffs, but the tradeoffs they choose vary by lifestage,” according to the report by DesignLens.