The home office has become a feature of new homes and renovations during recent years as home owners look to get more out of their homes and to provide for a potential change in their employment practice that enables them to work from home or ‘telework’.
This trend reflects an increase in the number of people starting a new career from home or wanting to supplement their income by working from home and employers wanting more people to telework from home to cut costs.
The Federal Government has forecast plans to require 12% of public servants to regularly work from home by 2020 in a bid to lift productivity and reduce costs.
The rapid take-up of the internet is fuelling the increase in home offices and the rollout of the NBN throughout Australia is anticipated to assist a movement towards teleworking.
Notwithstanding technological advances, the key to creating a productive, pleasant and legal home office is in the planning and design. Anyone considering the establishment of a home office should have a clear understanding of their legal obligations and whether the property can be used for the type of business they are intending to conduct. One of the key tasks is to check with the local council in relation to development controls.
Alteration costs must also be taken into account – e.g. the addition of a doorway to create a separate entrance for the business will be a cost and the provision of adequate light, ventilation and space to operate must also be considered along with the following:
- Is there a separate entry to the office area for clients? This is an important point if you and your family wish to maintain your privacy rather than have clients
entering the home.
- Location and visibility from the street may be important for your business.
- The provision of sophisticated communications for the premises including NBN, broadband cable facilities for internet access or wireless access.
- Is the area of adequate size for the type of work you will carry out? Space needs are important, as an inadequate space will ultimately lead to disruption of the business and added cost.
- When planning the office consider the storage needs of the business, not just for the client’s files and reference material but also equipment such as computers, printers, workbenches, meeting tables, reception areas etc. Consider the space and facilities also in terms of any support staff you may require.
- Have you chosen the quietest area to work? In choosing an area in the home or on the property the consideration of noise is vital, including domestic noise and any exterior noise sources.
- Do you have adequate parking for the people who may visit your home office? Will your business activity disturb neighbours?
Your Archicentre Australia architect can assist in striking a harmonious balance between comfort and function – the key to the success of any home office.