“Sorry, that’s my dog barking in the background!” Sound familiar? COVID-19 quarantine and shelter in place orders have sent many of us home while still juggling a full workload. Facetime, Slack, and Zoom have all taken new prominence in our lives as we try to find our new normal. Whether it is helping the kids with school, trying to operate business as usual from the bedroom, or looking for some quiet on the back patio, we have all felt the challenges of this new work format.
Finding a suitable place in the home to connect virtually can be difficult. It can feel like waiting for the stars to align for pets, appliances, and family to all be quiet enough for a peaceful hour of work at home. While it has been nice to be near to those we love through the stay at home era, we must also face reality. Work from home may not be going away anytime soon, and we need to set ourselves up to be productive in this format.
In a CNBC article, Fidelity’s Chief Risk Officer, Greg Montana, predicts there will be no return to packed office buildings. Montana thinks there will be some return to office work, but not like before as he leads one of the world’s largest financial institutions which has 95% of its workforce at home. The CNBC article goes on to cite a Global Workplace Analytics claim that employers can save $11,000 per employee who works from home at least half the time. Cost savings, expanding technology, health concerns, and convenience may have catapulted us forward into the work from anywhere format for good. This brings us back to the barking dog in the background of our zoom call. What should we be doing with our homes to anticipate this change?
Investing in a dedicated home office space is quickly transitioning from a “nice to have” to a “must have” for homeowners. The corner of a bedroom might work temporarily, but we all know we need more permanent solutions. Not only can a dedicated workroom increase our quality of life amidst chaos, but it also holds the potential to increase the value of our homes.
A dedicated, working space off the main living area could make our homes more desirable when we market them in this new era of remote work as a business norm.
Having a home office with a heavier soundproof door and dedicated space to serve as a differentiator between home and work might just be the next best investment for your career, sanity, and home. For those who are self-employed and now using a home space as their primary place of work, you may even be able to use a home office as a tax deduction. Work from home can become a joy if we take the steps to set ourselves up for success. Simply having a differentiator within the home can ease the mental strain of “never leaving the office” now that you live there. As we write this article from our kitchen table and make our own home office ready, may we advise you to invest in an office space now to proactively take advantage of the opportunity COVID-19 has brought us.
Okay Fido, you are free to bark now!
Written by Michael Smith