Is the Home Office Obsolete?

Home Improvement

The home office is becoming less important to homeowners, even though more people are working from home now than ever before.

Homeowners are finding less need for a central space for their work, according to a recent article in Bloomberg. Developers are realizing the change and are adopting house plans to accommodate the greater desire for open spaces instead. They’re adding in workplace nooks and power stations rather than an entirely separate space to work from.

Homeowners’ needs for a dedicated office with a big computer, fax, and printer are fading. Workers are no longer tethered by a cord and are favoring laptops and mobile accessories to do their work. That allows homeowners to take their work anywhere around the home, from their kitchen and living room to their bedroom.

This helps explain why “the bigger, more ornate home offices that we once did have kind of gone away,” says Tim Shigley, a home remodeler in Wichita, Kan. “People started saying, ‘Do I need a home office? I have other things I want to buy.’”

The home office may be losing its power as a selling point too. Mentions of home offices on real estate listings have dropped 20 percent over the past year, according to Zillow’s chief marketing officer.

The loss of the home office may be generational, however. A 2016 John Burns Real Estate Consulting survey showed that half of older adults still prefer to have a dedicated home office space. Younger adults, on the other hand, say they don’t care about having a home office as much.

Some owners are adapting the home office into other types of spaces. “It seems like people I know are bringing in a big-screen TV and a comfy chair,” Pete Reeb, a principal at John Burns, told Bloomberg. “While the kids are playing video games in the living room, Dad is watching football in his office.”

That said, there can still be a tax benefit to keeping that dedicated home office for those who do work from home. Owners and renters may be able to write off insurance, utilities, and other home office expenses on their taxes.

 

Source: “The Home Office Is Dying,” Bloomberg (Dec. 7, 2016)