Office to Home – A Post-COVID Change in Construction Demands?
It has been almost a full year since the first UK Coronavirus Lockdown sent people skittering from their traditional communal office workspaces and huddling instead in their homes.
As we look hopefully to a brighter future post-lockdown, will we be returning to the old ways, gathered together in open-plan central offices, or is the new normal going to become just, well, normal?
The rise of work from home
We are all doing it. After all, it’s that or don’t work at all, but does it really work?
If there’s something this very strange year has shown us, it’s the pros and cons that exist when you consider working from home. On the one hand, it’s done wonders for online pyjama sales, but on the other, is delivering your ideas through stilted Zoom meetings hoping that the kids don’t pick that moment to rush in really the most effective way of working?
‘Home’ really isn’t designed as a work space, and when signing the contract for that dream living space, most people didn’t consider a spare room as an office as important as more traditional concerns such as number of bedrooms, or whether the bathroom had good natural light.
This means that although many have managed to struggle through the past year, working at kitchen tables or cramming a desk into a bedroom, to make it a more permanent solution, changes have to be made – not just in the way people think about their day, but also in the way their construct and configure their houses.
Empty offices abound
The flip side of a crowded house of workers, kids and pets, is that out there now are hundreds of buildings with specialised infrastructure with little to do than gather dust. With billions of pounds put into their design and development, it’s a tragedy that custom office spaces are lying dormant.
While post-lockdown relief is doubtless going to send plenty of enthusiastic white-collar workers back to centralised office blocks to stand by the water cooler, there’s no point in naively thinking that it’ll just be business as usual. There’s plenty of incentive for people to make that request of their boss to just stay working from home, and not very many viable reasons for employers to say no. Not when the validity of those ‘I can do it just as well from home’ arguments now have twelve months of indisputable proof on their side.
Enter the construction sector
In the construction industry all of this news is good news. Whether people are looking to stay working from home, or wish to return to offices, there will be a huge demand for the services of those who can better develop those spaces to be more suited for purpose.
Converting the home to a full-time working space
Those in the home redevelopment arena have already had a busy year. From a full conversation where the client wants to alter the floorplan of their home for an additional new office, to a simpler change to maybe move a radiator and make a room more suitable for a desk, there’s so much work coming to companies in that sector.
Don’t be complacent though – it’s time to be bold. A good office isn’t just a converted box room with a laptop and borrowed kitchen chair. If working from home is to be a permanent fixture then much needs to be learned from established office buildings. Speak to your clients about infrastructure, lighting, power – even the placement of the window to provide light in the right way. After all; they are looking to you as the expert.
A home office (and by extension, a home office conversion project) can be a beautiful thing. If there’s space and budget, why not look at replacing an old garden shed with a bespoke work room, performing an office-centric attic conversion, or partitioning the garage? Offering these options to customers who are unsure on how they want to move forward can turn a basic project into a far more interesting and lucrative proposal.
Adapting offices for new use
Landlords are keen to ensure their properties are still used to the maximum. If the demand for office space dwindles, then they will soon be looking for alternative building uses to make up the deficit – providing yet more work for construction professionals.
When called in to offer your advice, don’t forget the infrastructure that’s already in place. Presenting plans and ideas that can reuse materials or make the optimal use of the structure that already exists will be likely to impress prospective clients as well as show your credentials as an environmentally-conscious contractor.
Using Ensign to improve your proposals
With Ensign software at the core of your proposal, you will be able to offer a clear estimate that presents every cost accurately, and saves on time and paperwork developing proposals. This means you can adapt faster, offer a tighter quote, and save on waste.
Why not contact us for a free demonstration of Ensign and how it can help your business.