Is the home office dying?

When you look at the New York Times' 2008 illustration of the paperless home, the home office section has a desktop computer with a big monitor, a stack of external hard drives, a digital camera and three, yes three scanners- a feeder for a stack of documents, a flatbed and a portable. That was their idea of progress from the days of file cabinets.

Now of course, the cloud replaces the hard drives, the phone replaces the scanners and the camera and you barely need the shredder, so few bills and documents still come on paper.

So even that minimal home office is disappearing. According to Patrick Clark of Bloomberg, “work is bleeding out across your entire home.” So even though the number of people working from home is going up,

The home office has lost enough cachet that, as of the end of August, the share of listings on real estate site Zillow that make special mention of one decreased by 20 percent from the previous year across the U.S., according to data compiled for Bloomberg Businessweek. Those rooms might still exist, but the numbers at least signal that real estate agents see them as less of a selling point than they once did.

Now, people are working from everywhere around the home from kitchen counter to sofa, especially the younger home buyers who are used to working in coffee shops. One survey showed that in California, “only a quarter of buyers born in the 1990s want a formal home office.” Builders and designers are instead creating “flexible spaces and workspace nooks”.

This is a positive trend for green living; less space needed, less stuff, less storage, less energy. It is all so minimalist now; even working full time from home as I do, I still basically am working on a ledge that is my standing desk in a niche at the bottom of the stairs. I have an external monitor and a little combo printer/scanner. What’s in your home office? Do the survey (multiple selections allowed) or tell us in comments.


Tags: Housing Industry | Work

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