After almost a year of working from kitchens, dining rooms and even the bedroom, new research has revealed that 40% of home working Brits are planning to create a dedicated workspace in their property within the next 12 months.
Kitchen and dining spaces have been the temporary home of many would-be office workers since March 2020, with 31% regularly working at their dining table and one in ten using kitchen worktops. Over two-fifths (43%) of respondents also said they often work from a bedroom, whether that’s their own, someone else’s or a spare bedroom, and 8% have cut their commute to the bare minimum by choosing to work from their dressing table.
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, many are preparing to do something about it. One in five respondents are planning to reconfigure an existing room to make a dedicated home office set up. With kitchens, dining spaces and bedrooms often doubling up as workspaces, there’s a clear opportunity for kbb retailers to advise customers on the best way to create a more permanent working from home solution in these areas.
In further good news for the many kbb retailers recovering from an unexpected November lockdown, the survey also found that 68% of respondents would visit a retailer at some point during their research and planning process.
The survey of 2,000 people commissioned by furniture fittings manufacturer, Häfele UK, was conducted to inform kbb designers and retailers of how new working practices are impacting demand for flexible spaces at home and how this trend will affect customer needs.
The majority of people (83%) for example, said being able to close off or put away the workspace at the end of the day was very or somewhat important. Combined with a desire for a compact workspace that doesn’t take up too much room (78%), the results give a strong mandate for concealed office designs created using sliding or pocket door systems, particularly in rooms that double up for several purposes.
Describing their perfect home office in more detail, home workers chose good lighting as their top requirement, with 89% of home workers 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%).
“The results of the survey highlight a real opportunity for kbb retailers 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.
“Alongside the 21% of home workers who are exploring ways to reconfigure rooms to accommodate a dedicated workspace, our survey found 30% are considering building work to create a home office area freeing up kitchens, dining rooms and bedrooms. That’s a significant volume of spend over the next 12 months.”
To help kbb retailers capitalise on the appetite for a flexible, compact and highly functional workspace, Häfele offers a range of high-quality components including sliding door or pocket door systems that are ideal for partitioning off an open plan kitchen or dining area.
The company’s hingeless flap fittings, Free space, are also an ideal way to create more storage room within cabinetry by eliminating the need for large cover caps and need an internal installation depth of just 63mm.
“By far the biggest opportunity for kbb retailers, however, is in lighting,” continued Natalie Davenport. “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 for kbb retailers to fulfil that need.”
Concluding, Natalie added: “As the market demand for home office spaces rises exponentially, we’re committed to working with our customers to offer a range of products and added-value services. Loox, when combined with Häfele to Order and our Lighting Design Service for example, makes our furniture lighting probably the easiest to install in the UK market. Following the specified design, we can cut it to size, assemble, test and ship the complete system to the desired location, then all the fitter then has to do it attach it and plug it in. New services like this that help our customers maximise sales opportunities and importantly, deliver fantastic office spaces for the UK’s workforce.”
According to the research, the following factors were rated as most important to home workers when creating the perfect home office space:
· Good lighting that I can adapt depending on conditions: 88.60%
· A quiet space away from distractions: 88.50%
· Charging points for my phone: 83.90%
· Being able to close off or put away the workspace at the end of the day: 83.40%
· Lots of power sockets: 83.35%
· A large workspace for my computer: 80.70%
· A flexible workspace that I can use for other functions in my home: 79.15%
· A compact workspace that doesn’t take up too much room: 78.05%
· Storage for paperwork / files: 77.35%
· Ways to hide cables and wires: 76.90%
· A workspace that complements the style of my home: 76.05%
· Adjustable table height: 72.50%