Is The Home Office A New Non-Negotiable For Buyers?

October 4, 2022

A report from the Melbourne Institute confirmed what many of us suspected, that the home office is here to stay...that employees prefer a balance of work and home for their working life. The report highlighted that “Some workers have experienced more flexibility in performing their job by working from home," some for practical reasons such as childcare, savings on travel costs and time wasted on long commutes, others because they found they work more efficiently in a self-managing environment.

The news means that whether you are buying or selling your property off-market this spring, you must take the home office space your property offers seriously. Buyers should take a closer look at the floor plans of potential properties, and sellers should consider creating a potential work area if their property doesn’t currently provide an obvious space.

A massive 64% of workers interviewed would prefer to work half their week at home

We are currently in a buyers’ market and when market conditions are more challenging, it is vital for sellers to stay one step ahead of the competition. Fortunately, creating an efficient workspace is relatively easy to execute, even if you hate DIY or have little interest in interior decoration. Even the smallest properties can usually accommodate a desk with some storage, and if you use our Seller Assist service, our experts will provide you with the necessary advice to start implementing your plans or put you in touch with a property stylist for more complex renovations.

Recent research has also shown a direct link between output and happiness, so despite the encouragement by some states in Australia to get workers back into the office full-time, the pushback we are seeing from many employees is somewhat inevitable. On the back of COVID, many of us reassessed our lifestyle and are determined to find ways to improve it. Spending a large chunk of the week away from family or in traffic no longer makes sense.

The home office has never been more important
A space for a home office has never been more important given that according to a recent study a massive 64% of workers would prefer to work half their week at home.

A home office is a great selling point

Any property stylist will tell you that a dedicated space in your property for a home office - whether that’s a desk under the stairs; a converted spare room, garage or shed; or an office pod in the garden - is a great selling point.

“Many buyers have been seeking to upgrade to a bigger property that has a home office. After working from the dining room table or having a desk squeezed into a bedroom, buyers are craving a room to do their job away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life,” confirms Noel Jones Director Paul Leydin.

Buyers want properties that are multi-functional. Not only does working from home require a level of self-discipline, but it also requires some practical design adaptations to make it work. Employees who choose this option should be mindful that they are more likely to be held more accountable for their productivity now than they were during the COVID lockdowns, so the space must function well.

What constitutes a good working environment?

If you are lucky enough to have the option of working from home, i.e., you have a flexible employer and the space, there is still much work to be done in terms of planning, to ensure your workspace works for you. 

For starters, you should address the following:

  1. Noise control and privacy – Ideally, the workspace should be quiet and away from distractions. That nook under the stairs may work for someone who lives alone, but it is unlikely to work for an employee with a young family.
  2. Connectivity – Obviously, your home office must have a good WIFI connection – Losing connection during those early Zoom calls was never a good look! – effective cable management and enough internet ports to meet your tech needs, which is likely to be more than you think once you sit down and map out the space properly.
  3. Organisation - The type of desk and its position in the space are important. Standing desks are becoming increasingly popular, especially for workers who sit in front of a computer most of their working day. But thought should also be taken with respect to where you position your desk, i.e., preferably not with the window behind you or at an angle where your colleagues/customers get a Birdseye view of your teddy bear collection during conference calls. Your organisation plans should obviously extend to your storage as well.
  4. Lighting – This is particularly important if the space does not have a lot of natural light. Overhead and task lighting will help you look your best during conference calls and help minimise any eye strain.
  5. Comfort – Pick an ergonomically correct chair and a wall colour that inspires you. Maybe check out some of the principles of Feng shui to find the perfect balance between comfort and the flow of energy your space and your creativity needs.

Listing Loop is the no.1 place for off-market, pre-market and ‘secret’ listings, so we know what it takes to make a successful off-market sale, and a home office is up there with a functioning kitchen on most buyers' list of priorities. Extensive research and planning are crucial to any successful sale or purchase, but the research proves that the investment and thought you put into the materials and space of your home office space will pay off. 

Create a customised home office that meets the needs of your working style

For buyers, one of the many benefits of working from home is the chance to create a customised environment that works with your own particular working style, i.e., you may prefer to be near the kitchen for easy access to coffee, or you may prefer to hide upstairs, away from temptation. But above all, your home office should be comfortable and somewhere you enjoy spending time. 

If you are thinking of selling off-market - And why wouldn't you? - check out our Seller Assist service. Simply fill out this form and one of our amazing team will get back to you immediately with all the details. Buyers who are looking for new off-market property listings can be matched to their ideal properties for FREE by signing up with us today.


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