The home office is increasingly gaining prominence in new builds as more people work from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Around 40% of Americans are now working remotely, up from just 5% before the pandemic, and now builders are responding by catering to their needs.
One example of the trend comes from KB Home, which has announced a series of semi-customizable home office packages for buyers that fit their personal needs.
“At first, people saw the need to work from home as likely to be temporary, but now it’s clearly not a temporary shift,” said Jeff Mezger, chairman, president, and CEO of KB Home. “As many people adjust to working from home permanently, they desire a dedicated, personalized room for their office, and that’s what we have designed into our floor plans.”
KB Home’s office package includes features such as built-in cabinets and workstations, ultra-high-speed USB outlets, an upgraded electrical packages, charging outlets, additional data connection ports, custom lighting, soundproofing and extra windows. Buyers can even choose to have a beverage center in their office if they so desire, as well as an attached bathroom.
KB Home said its office package is being rolled out nationwide, for an additional $2,000 to $3,000 on all of its new homes. The company’s base price for a home is $400,000.
Brad Hunter, who consults on real estate trends for Hunter Housing Economics, wrote in Forbes that builders are reworking their existing floor plans to give buyers the option of having a customized office space. The overall square footage of the homes remains the same, but details such as an interior wall can be tweaked or other flex space can be repurposed to create an office space.
“I expect to see homebuilders as a group start to embrace this cultural shift and do what they can to make life more efficient and more comfortable for people who plan to continue working from home,” Hunter wrote.
Indeed, home offices are likely to remain a key demand for some buyers, as the work from home trend looks set to stay, at least in some industries. Companies including Facebook and Twitter have said their employees can work from home permanently, and others, such as Google, have given workers until at least July 2021 to work at home.