The second major shift we are looking at has already begun to make major permutations in the world of design.
#2 Home Office Space
Welcome to our second installment of how Covid is impacting the direction of design in residential life. If you want to read about the first major change, it is all about Health and Wellness design. Want to know more? Read all about it here. This next change is something interior designers have already seen in spades this year. It is all about the home office. The amount of time spent at home for both adults and kids is vastly different than it was in the beginning of 2020. We are now having to figure out how to do it all from home which is adjusting how we view and utilize our workspaces. Many people are choosing to utilize one room as a workspace for everyone; mom, dad and kids. Over the next year we will be seeing a rethinking and emerging of new ideas going from an office space to a family work area. These areas will be equipped with storage specific to tasks and people so organization and thinking through specific needs will be important to achieve maximum use of space.
Teleworking is also creating a need to carve out specific spaces to work in rather than just the kitchen table. Since Covid, businesses have had the realization that working from home is beneficial to their bottom line- less overhead equates to more profit. Even if time is divided between home and office, this will allow more flexibility for families and caregivers and employers are now more open to it because they know it is workable.
A new office concept may include 2-3 desks for different purposes. There will also be a push for flexible space with multiple uses. If hunting for a new desk, think outside of the box and check out local retailers that do commercial offices. They often sell to the public and their products are often much sturdier and have many more options than a standard office or furniture store. I just bought a fabulous, second-hand, barely used, heavy duty rolling desk that folds up when he doesn't need it for my college age son for $200 at a commercial office store. This would be a perfect extra desk space for a multi-use office and can be rolled anywhere it's needed and still fold out of the way when it's not. “Pre-Covid our business was 70% commercial spaces and since March there has been a complete flip where 7 out of 10 offices we do are now residential,” James Schardt of Sacramento based Jamesville Office Furniture says. He has also witnessed the trend going from stationary desks to mobile, nested desks as well as adjustable height desks.
Another player influencing new home office standards is Zoom (Why didn't I buy stock in that??). All who were slow to go before now have officially been cannonballed into the world of videoconferencing. This new era will most certainly see an emphasis on acoustical integrity (soundproofing). This can be achieved by adding layers to walls, ceiling, and floors and adding solid core/foam core doors. Acoustic paneling or tiles are an easy way to soundproof without having to go into the walls, you can simply instal them directly on the wall or ceiling surface to absorb sound. Baux is a high end company out of Sweden that produces sustainable wood pulp or wood wool panels and tiles that can be completely customized to be as colorful or monochromatic as you like- check out some of their products here for inspiration. The other big need is adequate lighting. Obviously, having a professional assess your space for lighting and soundproofing is a great way to check all the boxes, but if you are more of a do-it-yourselfer, check out this blog that has a ton of great tips for improving your space for videoconferencing. I particularly love how he sets his conference lighting up as a 1 touch system; press 1 button and all necesarry lighting comes on- brilliant!
Last, but certainly not least- don't forget to allow for room for Fido. If you have a pet in your life, allowing space for a bed and some toys gives them opportunity to be with you without
having to be underfoot- especially if the rest of the family is going to be in there as well!
Interested in learning more? Check these links out:
*furniture store, but has some great tips!
*concise blog on family workspace
*inspiration from Houzz
*how to pick an office chair
5 Key elements:
Multi use/purpose office spaces
` Acoustical integrity for teleconferencing
Adequate lighting for online conferencing
Flexible Storage /organization for various purposes and people
Providing a space for pet with bed and toys