The change to working from home
When COVID-19 hit us roughly 2 years ago, we adapted to some harsh realities. Many of us found ourselves working from home without any advance notice or preparation – but finding that we were well suited for it, as were our homes.
Many people already had home offices – if not a dedicated room at least an area of the home with a desk or workspace and a computer or place for a notebook and a printer. Most home shoppers today, regardless of age, are looking for one or more home office areas. This was happening prior to January 2020, but it is taking on a new significance.
Many salespeople, designers, engineers, writers, accountants, and other professionals have found that they can work from home (at least part of the time) and have been doing so to various extents for years. Some people have no other office than their home, while others have a regular office away from their home but use the convenience of working from home one or two days a week, and sometimes even more than that.
Working from home is now quite common
Prior to COVID-19’s impact on how we interacted with others in the world, one report suggests that one and a half percent of the population (about 1 in 67 people) worked exclusively from home and did not go to an office location. After adjusting to the demands of the pandemic and finding that we liked working from home, the number of people with just a home office is said to be 1 in 7 (14 percent).
Gallup has similar findings, with over one-fourth (27%) of those who could work at an office location but whose work permits them to work from home choosing to work remotely. The poll goes on to say that the vast majority (91%) of workers hope that working from home at least some of the time persists into the future and that this will now be part of the culture.
Of course, assembly and other types of hands-on work cannot be done from home, but a lot of work can. Implications for our aging in place designs are obvious.
Aging in place now includes our work
While aging in place considerations necessarily involve the living space and not anything outside of the home such as at the office, when the office comes inside the home, it is part of the aging in place purview.
People are spending more time at home since this is now their workplace as well. We have learned that many homes, even without serious modifications, can accommodate a residential lifestyle as well as a business one.
Our aging in place approach to evaluating and renovating homes will need to include a consideration of how people might use their space for office pursuits – whether it’s a full-time relocation from an office environment or perhaps doing household bookkeeping or writing that blog or novel