Lifestyle August 7, 2015

Home Offices

This Room is Becoming a Must-Have Home Feature

It’s easy to work in any room of a house with today’s mobile technology. But according to designers and home builders, the home office is becoming one of a home’s must-have features, states Amy Hoak, personal finance editor for

The home office is growing in importance as people do more work away from the office and kids do more work outside of the library. Dedicated office space might not always be a full room. In fact, it might be a nook with desk space on the landing of a staircase or a corner of a bedroom or family room.

“That office or desk space is becoming as essential as the family room,” said Mollie Carmichael, who leads the consumer research team at John Burns Real Estate Consulting, based in Irvine, Calif. And that’s true no matter how large of a home it is, from a small apartment to a large single-family home, she added.

According to the survey by John Burns, 77% of the people surveyed said that any additional rooms not dedicated as bedrooms would be used as an office in their next home – the most popular response. (Fifty-six percent said they’d use the extra space as a guest room, 25% said multipurpose room.)

There’s also some evidence that home offices can make a home more attractive to buyers. According to Remodeling Magazine’s 2014 Cost versus Value report, you can recover an average 48.9% of the cost of a home office remodel at resale, up from 43.6% in 2013 and 42.9% in 2012. A midrange office remodel, as defined by the report, is a $28,000 investment that involves installing custom cabinets that include 20 feet of laminate desktop, a computer workstation and wall cabinet storage, along with rewiring of the room for computer, fax machine, cable and telephone lines.

There are a couple of reasons that people are demanding a dedicated office space. The first is that it gives them a place to collect all the paperwork and miscellaneous stuff that they need to run the household, and provides a space for the work they may be doing at home for their job. Secondly, it’s helpful to have a space that is dedicated to work and not filled with other distractions. Having all the things they need within arm’s reach can help with focus.

Those who regularly work from home are more apt to want an office space away from the center of the house. The number of people who work from home on a regular basis (and are not self-employed) grew by 89.8% from 2005 to 2013, to 3.5 million employees, according to data from Global Workplace Analytics, a consulting and research firm that studies work-at-home trends. The most recent statistics show that 2.5% of the workforce works from home at least half of the time.

Those who don’t regularly work from home may want the office space on the first floor, close to the center of the home. Workspace near the kitchen or great room can make it easier for parents to keep their eyes on kids – whether it’s the adults or the children who are working at the desk space. With an open office area, kids are also prevented from sequestering themselves in their rooms with laptops.