As of 2020 this is a “watch this space” topic.
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 provide for potential changes in their employment circumstances.
COVID-19 has highlighted and expanded this as a NEED – for breadwinners, school age children and tertiary age students living at home.
Prior to the COVID-19 circumstance, the ‘work from home’ trend reflected 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. It is now the norm and is becoming the generator of many homes being altered or extended to provide amenity into the future.
It will be self evident that pre-COVID-19 Federal Government forecasts of 12% of public servants regularly working from home by 2020, will be substantially increased. With quality home office accommodation, the aim is to lift productivity and reduce Government costs at the expense of home owners.
Ever increasing take-up of the internet and the rollout of the NBN throughout Australia will test communication systems in suburban and regional settings.
Notwithstanding technological advances, the key to creating a productive, pleasant and legal home office space is in the planning and design of homes – new and existing.
Working from home can unwittingly trigger statutory planning issues – depending on the extent of such accommodation, home owners need to consider and 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 business use and development controls.
Building alteration costs must also be taken into account – e.g. the addition of a doorway to create a separate entrance for a 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 design architect can assist in striking a harmonious balance between comfort and function – the key to the success of any home office and educational adjunct facility.