Here's What the Home Office of the Future Looks Like...
With an expected 40% of employees working from home by 2025*, a dedicated home office is becoming commonplace.
Brits are ditching their makeshift dressing table, dining table or sofa desks in search of multifunctional, inspirational workspaces as they embrace and enhance their well-being and productivity needs.
Research shows that the ideal workspace is a generous allocation of approximately 100 sq ft per person, allowing for 50 sq ft for desk space and another 50 sq ft personal space** to accommodate a breakout area, kitchen or meeting zone.
As gardens become smaller, modern homeowners are really trying to make the most of the limited space that they have. Just because space comes at a premium in your garden, it doesn’t mean you can’t have the flexibility of space for a garden office.
Sheds, summerhouses, workshops and log cabins of all different shapes and sizes, are being utilised as home office spaces and are being creatively transformed into comfortable, inspirational workspaces.
Here to provide insight on what a home office could truly look like in the future, we have partnered with an office design expert to reveal the WFH office of the future. Of course, there’s likely to be all the mod cons and enhanced technology, but the design expert reveals that placing well-being and nature is at the forefront.
Here are the 10 key features of your future home office:
1. Breakout Space
Creating a multifunctional office space with a dedicated breakout zone is a great place for you to relax and recharge on busy days. It’s a crucial part of many modern businesses and there’s no reason why you can’t recreate this at home in your garden office.
Nick Pollitt, Managing Director of Diamond Interiors comments, “Breakout and wellness rooms are just some of the methods we’ve seen become more popular in recent years, all with the intention of creating welcoming, positive work environments that also encourage productivity, we’ll definitely see increased importance on this feature in the future.”
Lauren our Product Expert, here at Tiger comments, “Having a space where you can invest in your own time and take a step back from work to enjoy this is crucial and something we’ll see people making no compromises on in their future home office. From meditation stations to workout set-ups, there must be a balance and the future is all about getting it right.”
2. Standing Desk
We have seen dramatic changes in the work environment over the years. Some of these include open plan offices and inflatable exercise balls at your desk instead of chairs. Ever heard of a treadmill desk? OK… perhaps a riskier option! So, we’ll just stick to the height adjustable standing desk for now!
Nick comments, “The first development of office features that usually comes to mind is in fact the standing desk - it’s one of the most researched features in terms of why it’s beneficial for a working day. According to Healthline, it can lower the risk of heart disease by 147% compared to using a standard desk, and a further 87% of standing desk users felt more energised after the study was complete.”
Lauren adds, “The key here is versatility; we’re going to see home office furnishings develop to a more ergonomic design so that they suit many different purposes throughout an individual’s working day. From sitting to standing to completely hiding your desk, spending the 9-5 chained to your office chair will be a thing of the past.”
3. Living Walls
A ‘living wall’ or ‘green wall’ is not only a very attractive feature to have in your garden room, but they can also purify the air, reduce noise and decrease the room’s ambient temperature. It’s a wonderful concept that can be used to increase connectivity to the natural environment using nature.
Nick says, “Greenery is one of the key focus points of biophilic design which helps to promote productivity and well-being and as such should be taking centre stage in the design process. Living walls or more specifically, succulent walls are also becoming more and more popular, transforming spaces traditionally reserved for artwork and inspirational posters.”
Lauren adds, “We’re likely to see the camouflaging of structures with the use of living walls to make outdoor spaces feel truly immersed in nature. This is sure to wrap around a home office and even be brought in through internal living walls - providing walls are structurally sound to do so - which will double up as an air purifier.”
4. Natural Materials
Back to nature garden spaces are simple to create using natural materials and nature-inspired colours and textures. Surround yourself with houseplants, a living wall to create a green oasis, with natural wood and stone furniture and accessories. There are so many ways to bring nature inside your garden room and the sun doesn’t have to be shining in the garden to create a natural space where you can enjoy, whatever the weather.
Lauren comments: “The future of the home office is all about being connected to nature to improve our well-being and consequently thrive at work. This is important in the fundamentals of what your surroundings are actually made of. Manmade materials shut you off from the natural world and cause a disconnect. Garden buildings made from timber are a strong, reliable structure working cohesively with biophilic design, which looks to bring direct objects of nature into a man-made environment.”
Nick adds, “Raw materials are absolutely the way to go for a well-being-focused environment. Avoid plastic furniture and accessories littering your office - ideally, you want to throw out the clinical feel and replace it with something rugged, authentic and natural.”
5. Air Quality
Our environment and air quality plays an important role in how we think and behave. Many people do tend to have their best ideas outdoors, so being immersed in a garden office and having plenty of free-flowing fresh air is a sound strategy for performing our best.
Lauren says, “One key benefit of being in the outdoors, surrounded by trees and nature is the increased quality of the air you’re breathing in and how this can positively impact your health. Not only is it great for preventing serious future health conditions, but throughout the day you’ll feel more energised and focussed.”
Nick adds, “Maintaining a good temperature, in conjunction with fresh, clean air, can make a world of difference in an office environment, ultimately you’re going to be far more productive if you’re comfortable.”
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6. Home Automation
Creating a smart home is on the rise and we see no sign of this going anyway! Think how a smart house could link up to your garden office controlling attributes such as the climate, lighting and appliances.
Lauren our Tiger Product expert comments, “While technology advances aren’t a major part of a well-being focussed future home office, there are always going to be helpful elements that can really take the pressure off and improve how we feel in our environment. Automated appliances will take some of the load off and Ring Video Doorbells could be useful to ensure all is running smoothly on your property.”
“We’ll also see that 5G and WiFi will undergo some serious advances to meet the demand for individual household data and internet usage. Technical problems and internet dropouts should become a very rare occurrence”.
7. Maximum Natural Light
Over the years lots of research has been done about the effects of having natural light in an office and how this significantly improves health and wellness as well as a reduction in eye-strain, headaches and drowsiness.
Nick comments, “Making sure your home office has plenty of daylight is invaluable when it comes to the future of the home office and will absolutely continue to be as time progresses, along with the use of daylight LED lights for cloudy or dark Winter days.”
Lauren adds, “The great thing about taking your home office out into nature is that you’re exposed to as much natural light as possible. We know that light gives us a serotonin boost which ultimately leads to a happier, more productive working day. Making sure your garden building home office enables you to make the most of the natural light you have access to may require bespoke design, something many of us will consider.”
8. Solar Energy
Solar power is a greener and cost-efficient way to provide energy to your garden building.
Lauren advises, “We’re already becoming more self-sufficient with our energy usage and with rising utility bills, more and more efforts will be made to harness our own energy and reduce costs. Home offices situated in an ideal open spot within your garden could host solar panels which would then provide the energy needed to run your home office. This would mean that the overall spend on running your home office would be far less than working within your home, using a shared space, or companies paying significant amounts on running a full office.”
9. Integrated Technology
Businesses have had to step up a gear and invest in digital architecture to ensure that the company can run remotely. It’s central to working from home, making sure that you can do your job no matter where you are.
Lauren comments, “While technology isn’t expected to be at the forefront for future home offices, the technology we choose to work with, and employers choose to invest in will be much more advanced and integrated to allow for a more seamless at-home working environment. It’s also important that your space allows for all the appropriate equipment through planning and design. Having the option to create the perfect space for your needs is paramount.”
Nick adds, “As hybrid working continues to develop, I suspect to see more offices adopting policies of helping to fund home workspaces to create these ideal productive environments. This could possibly evolve into allowing workers to select from a catalogue of items that would see a return on the investment through the boosted productivity and wellbeing of staff.”
It’s always going to be important to keep your main home and garden building secure and today millions of homes across the country reliably use a traditional lock and key. Future technology could see advances using smarter home alarms and entry systems.
Lauren concludes, “As more people opt for a dedicated space in their garden building to set up their home office, security to access this space will become a high priority. Garden buildings can be perfectly secure using traditional lock and key, however, with facial recognition already a popular feature of modern technologies, it could likely become the norm to access your garden home office using this method.”
You can read more about creating your perfect working space over in our blog.
Find your perfect home office with Tiger. We have a dedicated collection of sheds, summerhouses, log cabins and workshops that can give you the extra space you need.