For many, our daily routines have become a delicate balance between parents and children working remotely from home. Technology has made this possible, but our spaces have not always adapted well to the change.
While we all dream of the day that our children will be back in school and life will return to normal, we are faced with the reality that remote learning will be with us in some form for the foreseeable future. Lazy snow days may be a thing of the past for kids who can still put in a full day when home. Since the pandemic, many families have create a designated spot in each home for students to buckle down to do their homework.
Businesses have adapted to remote working, and many have found unexpected benefits. Zoom calls have replaced in-person meetings and business travel has been reduced or eliminated. The result has been more flexible work hours and more quality time with the family. The future of office workspace will surely be changed forever as businesses consider the value of leased office space relative to work productivity, employee satisfaction, and their bottom line. As architects, we have enjoyed helping our clients reimagine their homes now that they are being used in much different ways.
We never imagined a school experience in which our children are sitting in front of laptops all day. Schools are carefully designed to educate our children, but our living rooms, kitchens or bedrooms are not! Parents are finding themselves to be both parent and hall monitor, teacher and disciplinarian, all while trying to work themselves or make dinner. Providing dedicated areas for children to learn is one way to help everyone do their jobs a little better.
Other OL+ clients forced to work from home have found a new appreciation for their reduced daily commute. But parents also need a quiet place to work, away from the hustle-and-bustle of their home and family life. In this situation, designating and remodeling a room as an office, or perhaps modifying a pantry to become an office, provides a needed sanctuary for working from home. While our children will one day return to school, it is very likely that many working parents will decide to remain at home for some part of their week. Perhaps one of the few benefits of the pandemic will be a return to a healthy work-life balance in which a home office space is a critical component of our daily lives.
Check back as we will be updating the photographs as our ‘pandemic projects’ move into the construction phase.
At the center of a household, we often plan for an oversize kitchen island. With the student set up on one side and an adult on the opposite side, the parent can simultaneously help with homework and prepare the family meal.
Always a favorite, a large dining table in an open plan layout offers space to spread out the school books.
COMMON AREAS WITH DESIGNATED WORKSPACE
Blank walls can be adapted to be both beautiful and practical learning and working areas. Custom millwork designed to conform to the style of the home achieves a clutter-free look. A place to work with under counter seating and built-in’s for paperwork and files helps with organization.
Window seats are a great use of space. During the lock-downs, they have become valuable reading nooks. These seating areas offer plenty of light and are comfortable enough to slide back into some comfy cushions to study or read to relax.
PANTRY AND LAUNDRY ROOMS
Previously thought of as a place to manage the household affairs, small office spaces in a corridor, laundry room, or pantry now also serves as a home office and a place for remote learning.
Custom built-ins to accommodate files, paperwork, and even electronic devices help with organization.
A new-build home may include an office in the floor plan, perfectly situated and customized to suit the user.
Alternatively, a room such as a den may be adapted to be an office. Either way, the opportunity to close the door at the end of the day is a great way to make a separation between work and home life.
Let us know your unique needs, challenges, and opportunities.
We are available to assist with your space planning needs!