Evolving Home Office Trends: What Can We Expect? The past year has shown a substantial shift in demand for suburban residences and an uptick in home renovation projects, resulting in homeowners reevaluating their home spaces in 2021. Through a virtual panel discussion organized by New England Home Connecticut Magazine, home design and real estate professionals were brought together to discuss the effects the pandemic has had on the industry along with the innovative trends for the future of home design. In this blog, we’ll hear from the following contributors and address the evolving home office and what we can expect moving into 2021. Moderator Tyra Dellacroce | Connecticut Stone Panelists Robin Kencel | The Robin Kencel Group Arnold Karp | Karp Associates Beth Krupa | Beth Krupa Interiors, President ASID CT Tara Vincenta | Artemis Landscape Architects Chris Barre | Smarthome & Theater Systems Across the country, an estimated 42% of the American workforce is now working from home. Even as COVID-19 (Coronavirus) vaccinations roll out and more companies get the green light to resume regular operations, many employees will likely continue working from home in some capacity. After all, many businesses have found that they’re able to reduce overhead this way — and some workers enjoy a better work/life balance by avoiding their daily commutes to the office. As these trends play out, we can expect to see some additional changes in residential home design demands — specifically as they relate to the traditional home office. From lighting and technology trends to shifts in the way we use our indoor spaces, the next few years are sure to be interesting. After all, as Robin Kencel of the Robin Kencel Group explains in the virtual panel led by Tyra Dellacroce of Connecticut Stone, “We’re not working from home; we’re living from work.” Need for Natural Light and Pure Air Some home designers expect that a shift to more people working from home on a permanent basis will also result in a need for more natural lighting and air purification systems in home design. Setting up workspaces near natural light sources can help boost a person’s mood and overall productivity by giving them access to the ever-important Vitamin D. Meanwhile, as people are spending more time working indoors, indoor air quality will be more important than ever. In areas where natural light is difficult to come by, smart home technology can be used to mimic natural light. Chris Barre of Smarthome & Theatre Systems explains, “Smart bulbs can be programmed to gradually increase their brightness as the sun sets each day, allowing those working into the evening hours to enjoy consistent lighting until they finish their work.” A Shift Towards Multiple Work Stations Another trend we expect to see as more people continue to work from home is a greater demand for multiple workspaces around the house — and even outside of the house. Rather than sitting at a single desk space all day, workers should have the ability to move across a few different spaces throughout the day. “A change of scenery and environment can go a long way in boosting one’s mood and productivity, after all,” as Beth Krupa of Beth Krupa Interiors mentioned. “Escaping” to the Outdoors The need for a great outdoor space has also become more important as people spend more time inside. Being able to “escape” from the home to a relaxing patio, deck, or pool space can really give people the feeling of exploring a new destination, especially at the end of a long workday. In cooler climates, this has translated into increased demand for patio heaters, outdoor fireplaces or fire pits, and similar additions that allow homeowners to get more use out of their outdoor spaces into the fall and winter months. The End of Open Concept? Large, open spaces have been popular in home design for many years now. However, as more people are working from home and recognizing the need for more privacy, Arnold Karp of Karp Associates explains that “We’re also starting to see a slight shift back to a need for smaller and more closed-off spaces. While we’ll probably continue to see open-concept main living spaces (such as living rooms, family rooms, and kitchens), smaller and more segregated office spaces may become popular in the years ahead.” These are just a few of the possible trends we expect to see in home design even after getting through the pandemic. From a greater need for creative lighting solutions and smart home technology to a demand for outdoor spaces to “escape” to, the next generation of homes built across the United States is sure to be a stark deviation from what we’ve seen in the last several years. Need help updating your home office space or another area of your home? Contact a member of our Connecticut Stone team today.