Comments attributed to: Paul Smith, Head of Specification Sales...
“With swathes of companies including Unilever and PwC announcing their office workers will never return to their desks five days a week after the pandemic, Covid-19 looks to have instilled lasting expectations when it comes to flexible working conditions, which many workers are in favour of.
“According to new data, only 12 per cent of employees want to return to the office full-time, while 72 per cent would prefer a hybrid remote-office model moving forward.
“So, with as many as a quarter of British businesses planning for permanent home working even after Covid-19 restrictions ease , many are looking at how to make their home suit their needs in the long term.
“At Häfele UK, we recently undertook research with 2,000 would-be office workers which revealed that, currently, just 18 per cent are using a purpose-designed study in their home – with the remainder opting to use their lounge (32 per cent), dining table and kitchen worktops (31 per cent) or the bedroom (22 per cent).
“This presents a major challenge for the 65 per cent of employees who say they are more productive at home compared to their regular offices. Half (55 per cent) are currently working in a space which is typically used for other purposes, while 42 per cent are frustrated that they can’t shut away their workspace at the end of the day. But they’re prepared to do something about it.
“For example, two out of five home workers plan to do at least some changes to their home to create a dedicated office over the next 12 months. One in five (18 per cent) respondents said they are planning to reconfigure an existing room to create a dedicated home office set up, while almost a third of work-from-homers are considering going a step further, by doing building work to create the space they need. Meanwhile, many others are considering moving to a completely new house, favouring developments which have additional rooms to better cater for home working .
“Our research also showed that there has been a shake up in what consumers class as the perfect home working environment, helping designers gain a clear view of what needs to be incorporated into their future schemes.
“Home workers chose good lighting as their top requirement, with 88 per cent rating it as a crucial design factor. And after months of video conferencing, technology also ranked as a key consideration, with work-from-homers choosing charging points for phones (84 per cent), power sockets (83 per cent) and ways to hide cables and wires (77 per cent) as other important factors in their dream home office.
“Meanwhile, where extensions and conversions aren’t possible, concealed office designs using sliding, pocket or pivoting doors answer the brief. The majority (83 per cent) of respondents said they want to close off or put away their workspace at the end of the day and, combined with a desire for a compact workspace that doesn’t take up too much room (78 per cent), the results give a strong mandate for using door systems to build hidden workstations.
“With some consumers having saved money from cancelled summer holidays, commuting and limited socialising, they have more disposable income to spend on repurposing their home to create spaces which better cater for what looks set to be our future. These adaptations from homeowners who want to stay put, as well as the wishes of people looking to move, equate to billions of pounds worth of opportunity to the design, residential and home improvement markets.
“To support those looking to help their clients bring these ambitions to fruition, we offer a range of high-quality components that are ideal for home office solutions, particularly within compact living spaces, with our products designed to achieve More Life Per M2.
“For example, our lighting design service can help ensure a new office can benefit from LED solutions, which can be integrated into furniture, to provide functional and contemporary lighting that doesn’t infringe on space. Meanwhile, our Sliding Door Gear Specification Service makes it easier than ever to implement sliding door, pivot door or pocket door systems for partitioning off an open plan kitchen, dining area or bedroom.
“As the market and demands of home works continues to evolve, we’ll continue working with our customers to offer products and added-value services to help them maximise sales opportunities and – more importantly – create fantastic work spaces for the UK’s workforce.”
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