Work has become increasingly nomadic, and most offices can now be packed into a laptop bag and pitched anywhere in the world. Increasingly, people are taking advantage of advancing technology and ditching the commute in favour of homeworking.
The idea of the home office has evolved. As work is no longer confined to a desk, workers no longer want to be confined to a box room with an Ikea desk. Instead, the business jet-set are specifying multi-purpose spaces that can be adapted to reflect modern working practices.
“We are finding that many of our clients are opting for work spaces that can be truly flexible,” said Louise Wicksteed, Creative Director at 1508, said. “We’re seeing a huge demand for rooms which can be used to work in – be it checking emails or taking a conference call – but can also be used for entertaining clients.”
According to Wicksteed, flexibility is key. “Because working nine-to-five is now a thing of the past, many of our clients don’t like the thought of always being stuck behind a desk,” she said. “As our personal and professional lives become increasingly entwined, our clients are seeking flexibility and comfort when working from home.”
According to Piers Clanford, Managing Director at Berkeley Homes (North East London), the infrastructure surrounding a homeworker’s domicile is just as important as the design of the house. “At 250 City Road, which is situated adjacent to Tech City, we are delivering two acres of Wi-Fi enabled public realm to allow both residents and the local community to access high speed internet throughout the development, giving them greater flexibility to work indoors and outdoors, at their convenience,” he said.
“Residents increasingly use a development’s facilities as an extension of their own apartment, so a business centre acts like a study with all the infrastructure of an established office space,” Clanford continued. “A work space outside of the apartment also allows people to differentiate between the sanctuary of their home and the demands of their working day.”
Tony Dowse, Chairman of Environ Communities, says that technology is key. “Adequate broadband and mobile phone signals are now of paramount importance in any scheme,” he said. “It is our view also that hard wiring is still required due to the variability of wifi signals.
“There is also the concern of the effect of electro smog, which is a particular issue in Europe. Technology is moving on at such a pace that it is essential to allow for future flexibility and the inter relationship between computers and TV screens in the home.
“In the same way that we are now incorporating mechanical and electrical plant cupboards as a sort of command module; we are also including media hubs as a control point for all the media/computer/mobile technology.”
The sitcom The Office now seems more akin to an episode of Mad Men than modern working life. The way we work is evolving so fast that no one knows where they might be opening their laptop in five years’ time. According to Dave Smith, Managing Director of Modwen Homes, houses must be designed to incorporate lifestyle changes that haven’t yet happened.
“To ensure our developments don’t fall behind with technology, by the end of 2017 we will have installed cable ducting in the infrastructure and roadways of our developments to prepare for future upgrades to communication cables,” he said. “Moving forwards, we will continue to stay abreast of new technology, ensuring that our homes meet the ever-shifting needs – including changing working habits – of our customers.”
PHOTO CREDIT: jinkazamah, designed and rendered by Dang Khoi