Office Design Trends as WFH Becomes the Norm

by Mike Hunter

Dramatic shifts in the everyday lives of homebuyers have caused families to rethink a once-overlooked, private working corridor: the home office. In fact, the home office does not only benefit the “worker.” Recent months have shown that many different family members can end up at home for unknown periods of time, using different devices to keep up-to-date with schooling, friends and families. 

Fulton Homes, Arizona’s largest family-owned and -operated homebuilder, and the Fulton Homes Design Center, are seeing an increase in homebuyers’ “must haves” as it relates to home offices. “As a homebuilder, we usually see trends as they are evolving in the early stages,” says Dennis Webb, vice president of operations for Fulton Homes. “Employers are adapting to having remote employees, and the workforce is basically able to live wherever they want at this point. The challenges of daily commutes and in-person meetings don’t play as much of a factor.” 

The following are the three top trends. 

A “Zoom Room” is top on the trend list, as many are spending a lot more time working from home. When the telecommunication revolution ramped up in March, companies were forced to hold all meetings via virtual videoconferencing platforms (Zoom, Microsoft Teams, etc.) and many employees’ home offices were not up to par. Home offices with a “Zoom-centric” focus — including an area with good lighting and videoconference-friendly backdrops — help facilitate a good first impression when people are working with others they have not met in person but only in a small, square window. Trendy, professional backgrounds growing in popularity are bookshelves, subway tiles and plant-filled oases. 

Lighting and technology are also important. Having proper lighting in home offices is a high priority, as poor lighting can cause reduced energy, dampened morale and increased eyestrain. Indirect and adjustable lighting fixtures are trendy additions to home offices — LED lightbulbs are good; a high CRI ring light is better; but natural light is best, according to the team’s experts. Speedy internet connectivity throughout the home is key, and begins with finding the perfect location for a router within a home office.

In a home office, soundproofing is a must-have, considering today’s teleconference-centric environment. Background noise can cause unfavorable meeting experiences, so buyers are investing in soundproofing technologies via individual office walls and carpeted flooring, noted for sound absorption. 

The next pivot in home office design trends may be having dual offices. With two (or more) family members working from home, schooling from home and spending more than half their waking hours there, the need for customized, separate office spaces is near.  

Did you Know: To look one’s best while videoconferencing, a flattering angle is key. The best practice is to set up the camera at a height even with one’s hairline, a reasonable distance from the face, then angling down toward the eyes.

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