Before the coronavirus hit the United States, about 5 percent of the workforce worked from home each day on a permanent basis. Some 46 percent noted that they worked from home part of the time but had to be physically in their office for meetings and other obligations at least for a portion of the week.
Now that Covid-19 has changed the way Americans work, more than half of the country reports that they are working from home, notes a study by The Brookings Institute.
Furthermore, more and more companies are discovering that it really is okay if their employees work from the comfort of their own abode. Most aren’t goofing off, as some higher-ups suspected they would, and – in general – things are happening as they should.
Experts predict that many businesses will allow their employees to continue to work from home, even when things are back to “normal”. There will likely be less need for fancy office buildings and more demand for homes that can accommodate an office space where the inhabitant can work without being disturbed by others in his/her family.
Hence, after it’s determined that the worst of the pandemic is over and Americans are back to the business of buying and selling houses, the chances are that many individuals and families may be looking for a space that helps accommodate their new work situation.
More than just a kitchen table
Right now, many Americans are making do with space they have available for work. For many, they might be sharing the kitchen table with the kids during the school day or may be relegated to a small desk in a bedroom or den. Many report that it’s been tough to find a place in their home that can function as a dedicated office space.
That means, when the dust settles, and more of the country continues to work from home, houses that already include a home office or have a room that can be converted to a home office will be at the top of the pecking order, so to speak. Chances are they might draw a higher price simply because that feature is present.
Though no one can predict what the market will resemble after the worst of Covid-19 has passed, we could see a surge in buyers looking for that all-important office space, so it may behoove sellers to start thinking about how they could stage their home so that it appeals to the buyer who needs a fully-functioning office.
What’s needed for a home office?
While home offices can take on a variety of shapes and sizes, there are a few things that are most desirable and attractive to potential buyers.
Separate entry – While not everyone will need a separate entry, some will. For example, someone who needs to meet with clients regularly or even occasionally would benefit from a separate entrance. This space should also include an easily-accessible bathroom, if possible.
Sufficient lighting – A good office space includes more than a desk and a desk lamp. The office should have good overall lighting, especially if there’s little natural light. Most people don’t want to sit in a dark office for 8 hours a day, so an overhead fixture is often a good idea.
Storage space – Space for bookshelves or file cabinets is generally a must, so make sure the room that will be designated as a potential office space can fit more than just a desk. This could mean perhaps hanging cabinets on the wall if the room doesn’t have a lot of floor space. These days, most offices include one or more computers, printers, and/or other machinery as well as files, supplies, and more, so think carefully about actual space before you promote that 8x10 spare room as the “ideal” place for a home office.
Make it aesthetically pleasing – Remember, someone will be spending a lot of time in that office space, so paint it a pleasant color, use mirrors to help increase the light (and make the space look more substantial), and add homey accents that show the potential of this space to be the perfect at-home workplace. Even if you’re not yet using a particular space for an office but know that it would work, stage it so that it appeals to potential buyers.
Though we have no idea what life will be like post-pandemic, planning for what will inevitably become a new reality can give you a jump on selling your home should you decide to do so when the worst has passed. When you’re ready to list, talk to your realtor about the home office possibilities in your home so that he/she can properly market the perk to potential buyers.