The number of professionals working remotely skyrocketed in 2020, when businesses were forced to close their offices in an effort to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. As the world transitions from the pandemic phase to an endemic phase, many office workers also are transitioning back to their offices.
A recent survey from the Pew Research Center found that 59 percent of workers in the United States are now working from home all or most of the time, while 22 percent are rarely or never working from home. In 2020, 70 percent of workers were working from home all or most of the time, while 17 percent rarely or never worked from home. Those figures reflect that work life, albeit gradually, is returning to pre-pandemic norms.
As individuals find themselves going back to the office with increased frequency, they might be wondering what to do with their home offices. If space inside a home is at a premium, then repurposing a home office into a space that can be used more frequently is a great way to make better use of the existing square footage. The following are some ways homeowners can transform home offices created during the pandemic into more useful spaces.
Go back in time. Perhaps the easiest thing to do with a home office that is no longer needed is to return the room to its pre-pandemic state. Because the shift to remote work was so sudden, many homeowners were forced to turn washrooms, breakfast nooks or areas of their basements into home offices. Returning those spaces to their initial functions can make a home feel less cluttered and add more room for residents to relax and get around.
Create a new entertainment area. Many homeowners converted a spare bedroom into a home office during the pandemic. In such instances, guest beds and other furniture might have been moved into storage or even sold or discarded. Either way, that means the office was cleared of bedroom furniture. Now that the room no longer needs to be an office and now that homeowners have made due without the extra bedroom, the room can be converted into an entertainment area. Swap out the desk for a foldout couch that can still accommodate overnight guests when necessary. Then mount a flatscreen television on the wall and utilize the room as a gaming room for kids or a film room/man cave for mom or dad.
Create an in-law suite. The pandemic separated families, as people living in different households were advised to avoid gatherings to stop the spread of the virus. Individuals with aging parents may have felt particularly heartbroken by this forced separation, especially if their elderly parents were living in nursing homes that were stretched thin by staff shortages and other challenges. In the aftermath of the pandemic phase, families may want to invite aging relatives to live with them. Home offices can be repurposed into in-law suites so aging parents don’t have to confront the isolation and loneliness many felt during the height of the pandemic.