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There have been quite a few curve balls so far in 2020 — the most obvious one being the COVID-19 virus. The pandemic has affected nearly every person, business, and industry in one way or another. For those in real state, with the widespread transition to remote work, there is now a sudden increase in demand for home offices. Now, many are wondering if this trend will last, and what kind of long-term impacts will come with this pandemic, particularly for the real estate industry?
Home offices are certainly nothing new, but their popularity (and demand) has shot up over the last year, thanks to people working from home more than ever. While some businesses had already begun playing around with the idea of remote work, the pandemic accelerated those plans, and it’s been the job of real estate experts to keep up with this change.
While it’s arguable that the need for home offices will decrease once life returns to “normal,” with major corporations such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter extending their work-from-home orders, as well as offering permanent remote work arrangements, home offices will likely remain fairly popular in the coming years.
As more and more people work from home, they’re going to be looking at homes that can keep up with their workload. Beyond being able to fit the essentials like a desk, computer, and printer, many people need a space that can appear professional for a Zoom meeting yet welcoming and homey when guests arrive. But what if a home simply doesn’t have a spare room or the kind of additional space you’d find in a basement or even an empty shed in the backyard?
Luckily, the home office has some pretty flexible elements that make it easy to pull off in nearly any room. Plus, officially speaking, the IRS does not require a home office to have four physical walls for it to qualify as a write-off. Deciding to convert an area of a house into an office as opposed to an entire room is also one way to keep your options open if remote work ends up being less popular than projected.
When preparing to show a house or helping a client go through potential office areas, consider ways to fill the space with modern office vibes to help really paint the picture. This could look like ample lighting, adding greenery to liven up the space, and choosing decor such as wall art to bring color and positivity to the area. With these elements, any space, from the kitchen nook to a corner in the living room, can look business-ready, yet inviting and without sticking out like a sore thumb.
Another factor to be aware of is the energy usage and costs that office necessities generate such as laptops, desktops, printers, and routers. This may shape what homeowners want out of utilities and room capabilities, so it’s worth familiarizing yourself with it to pick the right listings to show potential clients.
It’s never easy deciding if a trend is built to last or not, but we will likely see the home office demand kicking around for the foreseeable future. COVID-19 didn’t just affect our present lives but has shown the successful possibilities of remote work, meaning we’re likely to see the ripple effects of the pandemic for years to come.
Luke Smith is a writer and researcher turned blogger. Since finishing college he is trying his hand at being a freelance writer. He enjoys writing on a variety of topics but real estate topics are his favorite. When he isn't writing you can find him traveling, hiking, or gaming.
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