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The Method: The new home office in 2021

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As we return to the office in 2021, we are looking at a very different way of working yet again this year – some might say ‘unprecedented’ (again).

If last year was typified by the mass working from home approach, 2021 will have a different flavour, as we spend time both at home and in the office.

What does it mean for our housing, and how can the new breed of apartments support this new approach to business?

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Hub and home

With our embrace of working from home for most of 2020, some studies suggest that even with a vaccine this year, not everyone will return to the office full-time, ever.

We’ve come to love the 10 second commute, the extra time with family, the flexibility and renewed trust that working from home means getting stuff done.

Workplace design experts Unispace predict a “hub and home” approach to working this year, where offices will become collaborative spaces and homes will become deep working zones. Offices will be for working creatively together, training and talent development; while task-based deep work will be focused at home.

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A study by Ernst&Young and the Urban Land Institute on the Future of Work in late 2020 supports this view and predicts “an even greater blurring of sector boundaries”. Through its survey of more than 500 real estate leaders, they surmised there will be an enhanced focus on the quality of spaces – not just office, but also housing and “third spaces”.

That’s because, according to them, remote working will grow – from 20% of employees being offered 20% of remote working time, to at least 60% of employees spending more than 40% of their time remotely.

It suggests that having a home geared to accommodate remote working is going to be important for many years to come.

If you live in an apartment, this means having a floorplan that provides flexibility – think study nooks, areas that can easily transition from workplace to social space as the day progresses.z

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Hub at home

EY and ULI claim that the Future of Work will require a “full ecosystem of places” in which to work, including home, flexible workplaces on the fringes of cities and a key central location for headquarters.

So when thinking about our homes as part of that ecosystem, how do we make that work long-term?

In recent years we have seen the rise of townhouses that provide lower level office space for start-up or small businesses beneath a traditional home layout on the upper floors.

But with affordability a factor, we can’t all afford to buy and live in a townhouse, so how can this thinking pull through to apartment living?

Apartment buildings that cater for workers by providing business services and meeting spaces are still quite unusual, but they offer a unique solution for the future of working and an affordable way to run a business from home.

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At R.Corporation we forecast this trend early with the rise of the gig economy and the merging of work-time and home-time. Accordingly, R.Iconic offers a plethora of workspaces for a ‘hub at home’ model as well as a range of apartments that incorporate study spaces for the deep work done at home.

A public co-working hub can connect at-home workers with colleagues and collaborators, while private meeting spaces cater for a range of uses including:

  • The Business Lounge: An open, casual seating area designed to accommodate informal meeting discussions or remote working
  • The Innovation Lab: A Google-esque creatively furnished brainstorming and networking space designed for teams to meet, create and solve the world’s problems
  • The Media Salon: Perfect for connecting with interstate and overseas teams, the Media Salon is a flexible and functional workspace fully equipped with video conferencing, television and AV equipment

It is a model that puts a wealth of options at the fingertips of today’s workforce, providing unique working solutions to foster innovation in our city.

How are you choosing to work this year?