WFH: Should I stay or should I go now?

Published 17th of July, 2020

Working From Home (WFH) provides the UK with a chance to re-evaluate our relationships with our homes, our workplace our employers and our families. Research published by housebuilder Redrow this week reveals that the unexpected social experiment of working from home has changed what we want from our homes and how we manage the work-life balance. Will, therefore, the Government’s call to go BTO (Back to the Office) fall on deaf ears?

Setting the Scene

Should I stay or should I go now?

On Thursday (16 July) the UK Government’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, told MPs:

Working from home for many companies remains a perfectly good option and that there was absolutely no reason’ to change the working from home advice

This indecision's bugging me

However, on Friday 17 July UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:

From 1 August, we will update our advice on going to work.

Instead of government telling people to work from home, we are going to give employers more discretion and ask them to make decisions about how their staff can work safely

If I go will there be trouble?

I am no expert when it comes to virology, nor safety in the workplace, but when the UK Government issues advice at odds with their own Chief Scientific Officer I think there may be trouble ahead.

What do UK households think?

What is probably more important are the views of homeowners and households across the UK hearing these conflicting messages. Fortunately, UK Housebuilder Redrow has published some timely research which gives valuable insight into what UK Homeowners are thinking.

Redrow Survey

Redrow investigated the views of 2,000 UK adults on their home buying preferences post Covid-19 and found that the pandemic has forced many people across the country to reassess how they want to use the space in their home, and what community features and facilities they want to be surrounded by.

Research highlights

The most important factor when choosing my next home:

  • Access to private outdoor space (60%)
  • A large kitchen with ample space for food preparation (40%)
  • In London, access to high-speed broadband would be a top priority for 34% compared to a national average of 27%
  • The ability to walk or cycle to work (rather than drive or take public transport) 22% rising to 45% in London

In terms of community features and facilities, proximity to green open spaces will be most sought-after post-lockdown (35%), followed by proximity to smaller shops (33%), and a doctor’s surgery (32%)

James Holmear, Redrow Group Sales Director, summarises the research succinctly: “Lockdown has changed our lives dramatically. More time spent in the home has made us reconsider how we use the space that we have, and how our homes can adapt to a more permanent change in the future. Even as more offices re-open, many people will opt to work at home”

What does this mean for homeowners? (Come on and let me know)

If you are looking to sell

Optimise how you can use any private outside space that you may have.

Demonstrate how suitable your home is and how able it is to accommodate working from home (potential workspaces/broadband strength)

Showcase your home as a destination: demonstrate why in your home staying in is the new going out

Sell your community: be ready to promote your favourite local green spaces, local shops and local cafes

If you are looking to buy

Think about how the use of your current home has changed over the last 5 months and draw up a list of what you would like to either change or keep the same in your next home and what is now important to you when you think about what you and your family need from your home

If you are settled

Well, it is great if your home meets all your needs and if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, but if there is one thing you could change about your home what would it be? Why not look into making that change to increase the enjoyment of your home?

Housing Hailey

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