As we approach the two-year mark of the pandemic, it’s clear that some things will not return to normal. One of the most significant shifts the world has experienced during COVID is the move to working remotely. And for millions of workers, that may not change back again. With that in mind, creating a work-from-home space is one of the biggest trends in real estate now.
Has the pandemic changed how you work and live? If you’re considering buying or selling in the Portland Metro area, let’s talk. Our team at Julia Monaghan Real Estate knows all the neighborhoods well and can help you find the home that suits your shifting needs. Reach out today to get started.
Uncertainty and Questions Linger
Sometimes being a real estate agent can be a little like being a doctor. When I’m at a party or gathering (remember those?), and the subject of jobs comes up, there are always questions.
How’s the market?
What are interest rates going to do?
Is it time to sell?
What is the next up-and-coming neighborhood?
I don’t generally mind these Q&A sessions. I can talk real estate while sipping my margarita any day. And these interactions are important because I learn from them, too. And one thing I realize is that real estate brings up a lot of questions, especially right now.
One of the biggest topics people are talking about is how to find or create a functional work-from-home space. Many people are not planning to return to an on-site job, and they need an effective place at home to fill the gap.
A home workspace was once just a niche desire, but now it is a requirement for many home buyers. On the other side of the coin, home sellers are looking to create a work-from-home office as a selling point.
Whether you are a buyer, seller, or just someone who wants to carve out a little sanity, creating a work-from-home space is perfect. Here are five ways to make your home work area effective.
1. Consider Your Highest Needs
The work you need to do will partly dictate what your space should provide. Some questions to consider include:
- Is a silent space for online meetings and calls a requirement?
- Do you need room for colleagues or clients to meet with you?
- Do you need to store equipment, documents, or inventory securely?
- Will you be working when your house is empty or when everyone is home?
In addition to your logistical needs, consider your personality needs as well. Productivity experts and researchers are likely to say that a calm, quiet environment is best for work. It allows for deeper focus and improved productivity. Which makes sense on paper.
But perhaps you are not someone that does well with calm and quiet. Maybe you like music playing or background noise to keep you company. You might need different things on different days or for different tasks.
You might not know what works until you try a couple of options. Experiment with some desk and workspace setups to see what feels right for your temperament and projects. Someone who does a lot of repetitive data entry may handle a more chaotic space than someone researching and writing articles for publication.
If you need a quiet space, you will have to find a spot in your home where you can close the door or create some sort of barrier. But if you want a lot of activity around you, then a corner of the living room might be sufficient.
2. Plan and Purchase for Your Work-From-Home Space
A work-from-home space can be as significant as a home addition or as simple as clearing off the dining room table.
But in either case, your plan needs to cover the basics:
- A desk and chair that are comfortable, ergonomic, and accommodate your equipment
- Consistent WiFi access
- Adequate power sources
- Storage area if needed
- Sufficient lighting
Even if you aren’t doing a home addition, there are plenty of ways to make an effective workspace. Great options are available for purchasing ergonomic furniture, and this is an area where it may be worth splurging a little. Poor-fitting chairs and desks can impact your neck, shoulders, wrists, back, and hips.
Physical storage may be a necessity for your workspace, too. Investing in some built-in shelves or freestanding file cabinets may be sufficient. If you carry inventory, however, you might need to clear space in a shed or garage.
Upgrading your tech is likely on the to-do list for you. Do you need a new router? Is your computer security up-to-date? Will you require more cloud storage? Many tech updates are quick and inexpensive. And a lot of companies reimburse their remote employees for these expenses.
The next piece of your plan should be your schedule. This part may be the trickiest but most essential. Carving out the time you need to work is almost as important as carving out a place to work.
Your work schedule will likely affect which space you choose for your office. Do you need to be on Zoom calls while everyone else in the house is still sleeping? Then a desk in your bedroom probably won’t cut it. Or will you mostly have an empty house during your work hours? In that case, you have more flexibility.
Once you have a schedule in place, try to stick with it as consistently as possible. This plan will help you stay focused and avoid confusion for all the people who share your home.
There is no way around the fact that working from home can feel disruptive to everyone at some point. Suddenly you may be with your spouse all day. Or your kids think they can now have your attention all the time.
Clear communication with your family is crucial to make this situation effective and less stressful. And if your workspace doesn’t have a door, communication is even more vital.
Some expectations to cover with your family include:
- Set work hours
- What an open or closed door means
- How to get your attention if something urgent arises
- Whether or not the space is off-limits to children
It’s also essential to communicate with your employer and customers. The reality is that you may have a child walk in during a Zoom call. Or a delivery person may be ringing the doorbell while you’re in a virtual meeting. At this point, people are pretty understanding of these interruptions, but communication is still important.
5. Consider Upsizing
Creating an effective work-from-home space requires some flexibility. Sometimes the best-laid plans just don’t work, and you end up trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.
If you feel that your current house won’t support a productive office space, it might be worth considering a move. People who know they will be working remotely for the foreseeable future may be ready to buy a bigger house. Or perhaps you’re renting an apartment, and it’s time to buy your first home.
A new house could provide precisely what you need to achieve your work-life harmony.
Ready for Your New Work-From-Home Space?
Even if buying or selling a house feels like a far-off plan, it is helpful to learn about your options. Whether you need to upsize your home for sure or just have some questions about the market, I’m here to help.
With my Julia Monaghan Real Estate team, I can help you find the right solution to your needs. From Happy Valley to West Linn to Portland, OR proper, we have you covered.