The home office of the future will probably be considerably different from the home office in current houses. Modern construction trends are moving in the direction of smaller homes, with green building materials and energy efficiency at the top of the priority lists of homebuyers. The modern home office will fit into this trend, as a number of technological factors will enable the home office to be more compact and much smaller.
The rise of electronic media and digital storage will dramatically reduce the amount of storage space required in the home office. Paper files and documents can be replaced with digitally stored documents, making heavy filing cabinets unnecessary. Even CD and DVD storage space will be minimized due to newer compact removable hard drive storage and cloud-based storage.
The ready availability of high-speed digital services, including high speed internet, to almost every consumer will impact the home office as well. Computer software that was previously stored on back-up disks can be backed up in the cloud. Other types of software will be made available as “software as a service”, where the user does not own the software at all, but utilizes it when necessary through an internet connection.
Books, including dictionaries, medical, technical, and legal reference books, and other business reference manuals, are increasingly available in pdf or e-book format, rendering the conventional home office bookshelf obsolete, replaced by devices like e-readers or iPads. The home-office phone, if it is not replaced by a cell phone, will potentially be integrated into the desk-top computer, which will be smaller and sleeker, following the trends of integrating the monitor, computer, and speakers into one unit with an aesthetically appealing design. Small web-cams that facilitate video conferencing are now frequently integrated into laptop or desktop computers.
Based on technological advances, the home office will look dramatically different – no or few bookshelves, file cabinets, or storage units; smaller phones and computers; and integrated electronic systems. The space that is gained can be used in another part of the home, or can be used to place designer features in the room.
As more and more workers spend time in the home office, creating comfortable environments for the workspace becomes important. Climate control systems, automatically adjusting window shades, and controllable room lighting are all automated systems that can add to the comfort level within a home office. Speaker and intercom systems that connect the home office to the rest of the home allow the worker to remain isolated from household noise while being connected when needed.
Figure 1 Photo from officePOD.co.uk
One new product available in the UK takes the idea of sleek home office design and isolation from noise to the ultimate extreme – the OfficePOD. This stand-alone modular office enclosure can take advantage of wireless or wired connectivity within a streamlined space that can be placed in any location, including the patio or garden.
Without the need for large storage spaces, the home office can be incorporated into a semi-portable space, and the homeowner who offices at home can maximize his or her productivity.Log in to post comments