Work from home used to be a perk enjoyed by the fortunate few. However, in just a matter of months, we’ve all seen how it has become the way to work for many. In addition, more companies are now integrating WFH as a permanent part of their workforce management strategy. In the Bay Area, for instance: thousands are leaving and settling here in Sacramento after hundreds of the largest Bay Area employers have given their employees the green light to move up to hours away, with occasional visits to their respective Bay HQs
This massive change in daily work life means people have to rethink the design of their homes to give themselves the space they need for productive daily work.
And if you’re in the market for that dream home, there’s a new decision-making question you need to consider: Does this property offer enough possibilities for creating the perfect work-from-home space?
Not every property comes practically ready for you to go into Work mode with the perfectly laid-out home office, but some will give you the options you want.
Here are the 3 most important questions to answer to make the best decision:
1. What exactly do you need?
Sure, every other person needs a home office these days. But we have different jobs, and we need different things, so it’s important to understand what you need to be productive in those eight or more hours when you’re at work, at home.
To answer this question, you need to answer these:
What kind of work do you do?
- Does it involve a lot of calls / conference calls that require a businesslike environment to convey professionalism to clients/stakeholders?
- Does it involve creating livestream social media videos that could benefit from bright and upbeat-looking background?
- Is it a mostly solitary job for which you need plenty of quiet and little to zero distraction?
- Do you expect or require people to come over to your home office as part of your business, and do you have ample sanitized space for these visits? Not to mention this would also entail a safe, sanitized path from the outside to your office.
- Do you require deliveries and pickups? This would involve a good connection between your office/workshop/studio and the outside.
What kind of tech and equipment do you need, and what is the specific setup required?
This could include printers, camera with tripod.
Are hard-copy paper files a huge part of your workday?
This means storage and easy access will have to factor into the size and layout of your home office.
Do you need a bigger worktable / drawing board in addition to your standard desk for a laptop or desktop computer?
Are there other things that need your attention while at you’re at work, most likely child care?
2. What are your options?
Home offices come in all sizes, shapes, and locations.
A separate room, a conversion, or a new build
If your work requires more than the typical desktop with just enough space for a computer or two, you probably need to look into these options, and you need as little distraction as possible:
- Appropriating a decent-sized room as an office
- A garage conversion, or building an office above the garage
- Building a separate work space—i.e., a garden/backyard office
Options 2 and 3 are also the best choice if you’re running a business out of your home, especially if it involves having people coming over for pickups and deliveries.
If you can work with just the average-sized desk and you don’t have any particular need for quiet or a businesslike background for video conference calls with clients and stakeholders, then a well-chosen corner or spot in the living room or the kitchen will probably work just fine.
Or you can get creative: compact home offices under stairs or in an alcove can be a great way to optimize space and create a cozy environment that allows a certain amount of both semi-isolation and a view to the goings-on in the house, especially if you’re also watching the kids.
Another option if child care needs to be integrated into your work hours is to set up your office in the family / playroom.
For custom builds, be sure to check local zoning guidelines to avoid any headaches down the line.
3. How much are you willing to spend?
This will no doubt help finalize things—both your decision on which property to buy and what kind of additional work (e.g., building a custom backyard office) you will be doing. But remember to keep in mind the kind of options that a property makes available to you. After all, a home office will more likely be a permanent part of your home setup.
Be sure to include home office space in your conversation with your agent.
Still looking for the right one? Team Clancy is happy to talk about your dream home with you, with the best options for a home office, or two, of course.
Contact us today!