New research from Häfele has revealed that, after almost a year of working in multi-purpose spaces and on makeshift surfaces, 40% of home working Brits are planning to create a dedicated office space in their property within the next 12 months – equating to a potential spend of £700m.
Just 18% of would-be office workers have a purpose-designed study in their home, with 31% regularly working at their dining table and one in ten using the kitchen worktops to create a makeshift desk. Nearly a third (32%) of respondents said they often work from their lounge and 22% have cut their commute to the bare minimum by choosing to work from their bedroom.
While this improvised approach has served many home workers well for now, over half (55%) of respondents stated their biggest complaint was working in a space used for other purposes and 42% are frustrated they can’t shut away their workspace at the end of the day. Lack of storage (46%) and desk space (42%) were also cited as common bugbears, highlighting the importance of optimising space with functional features.
As Brits now expect to spend over half (54%) of their week working from home in 2021, many are preparing to do something about it. One in five respondents are planning to reconfigure an existing room to create a dedicated home office set up and 18% are considering converting an existing room into a dedicated office.
Almost a third of work from homers are considering going a step further by doing building works to create the space they need. The survey found that 19% are hoping to build a garden room or convert their garage, while one in ten is contemplating an extension.
Combined, these plans equate to a possible £700m spend on building work in the next 12 months, signalling a clear opportunity for builders’ merchants and their customers.
The survey of 2,000 people commissioned by Häfele UK, also gives the building industry a clear indication of what the perfect home office looks like.
Home workers chose good lighting as their top requirement, with 88% rating it as a crucial design factor. After months of video conferencing, technology also ranked as a key consideration, with work-from-homers choosing charging points for phones (84%), power sockets (83%) and ways to hide cables and wires (77%) as other important factors in their dream home office.
Storage for paperwork and files was also important (77.35%) and after months of aching backs, adjustable table height was included by almost a quarter of respondents (72.50%).
Where extensions and conversions aren’t possible, concealed office designs answer the brief, with 83% of respondents wanting to close off or put away the workspace at the end of the day. Combined with a desire for a compact workspace that doesn’t take up too much room (78%), the results give a strong mandate for using sliding or pocket door systems to build hidden workstations.
“The results of the survey highlight a real opportunity for the building trade after a year of challenges,” said Natalie Davenport, Head of Marketing at Häfele UK. “Having saved money from cancelled summer holidays, commuting and limited socialising, many consumers now have more cash to play with and realising their home is now also their office, at least for the foreseeable future, home workers are gearing up to invest in changes.
“With almost three quarters of a billion pounds to be spent in the market, savvy merchants should be reviewing their product portfolios to make sure they include a complete range of home office solutions and should be upskilling their teams to give advice and support to their trade customers.
Häfele offers a range of high-quality components that are ideal for home office solutions, complete with training to support merchants and free specification services to demystify things like sliding door gear and lighting. These space-changing components include sliding door or pocket door systems for partitioning off an open plan kitchen, dining area or bedroom. These innovative systems allow a purpose designed office space to be easily hidden away at 5.30pm and offer an added space-saving bonus as they take up around 1270 mm less operating space per door versus a traditional hung product.
The supplier also offers a range of cable management solutions, ranging from cable organisers and outlets, to trunking, along with handy pop-up power docks that fulfil the home worker’s need for practical but clear and tidy spaces.
“By far the biggest opportunity, however, is in lighting,” continued Natalie. “Adaptive lighting was the clear winner when home workers were asked to select the factors most important to them, and fortunately it’s now easier to fulfil that need without needing specialist subbies.”
Loox by Häfele is a simple, modular plug and play furniture lighting system that can be easily incorporated into furniture designs to create a practical, well-lit working space for customers. App controlled, it can also be adjusted for different times of the day and lighting conditions, changing the atmosphere from a work to home environment at the click of a button.
Concluding, Natalie added: “As the market demand for home office spaces rises exponentially, there’s a significant opportunity for builders’ merchants to drive sales and importantly, work with their trade customers to deliver fantastic office spaces for the UK’s workforce.”