At last count, more than 4 million people work full time from home, and professional builders are making space in their floor plans to meet the need for a work space that is both separate and private. Many builders provide more than one room in which owners can conduct business, and the floor plan placement, access, and other features of current home offices are increasingly sophisticated.
Compared to the adapted work spaces in dens, libraries and even garages just a few years ago, home offices are now specifically designed for office use. Builders often locate these rooms on the main floor, frequently just inside the front door. This allows privacy by separating the office from other public areas. In addition, the office might share a powder room or full bath (with its own door) and provide built-in bookshelves, extra storage and surfaces for files and office equipment.
Luxury and custom homebuilders may provide a secondary office niche near or adjacent to the master bedroom or in the kitchen. These smaller office areas work well for home management tasks, such as paying the bills or maintaining the family schedule. Such space can also be carved into a long and wide hallway or included in a second-level loft between bedrooms, providing family access to a computer or homework area for school-age children. The floor plan may also provide a similar space near the kitchen or family room so that parents can supervise schoolwork, craft projects, or oversee Internet access.
Regardless of the context and however accommodated in the floor plan, there’s little doubt that home offices have changed basic housing design. They are now a common feature in nearly every type, size, and price of new home. This trend is sure to continue as work and home management evolve in response to advances in electronic and communication science.