The number of telecommuters continues to increase every year, with over 3.3 million Americans now working from home. That has a big impact on work – and on work-life balance. And no matter where you work, environment plays a big role in your productivity. If you work from home and you’re in the market for a new home, you’ll need to find a house that meets not only your and your family’s personal needs, but also your work needs.
Before you start house-hunting, think of the features you’ll need to create the perfect work-from-home environment – one that works for both you and your family:
1. A designated workspace
If you’ll be working from home, a separate, designated workspace should be a non-negotiable requirement. You’ll want an area that is quiet and conducive to your work, as well as set off from the rest of the house. Some homes are designed with a home office, but other spaces can be good alternatives – think an extra bedroom, formal living room, or even a large walk-in closet. Be cautious about choosing a home in which the workspace is close to common areas such as the kitchen or den. You may need some distance from noisy areas when other family members are eating, watching television, or playing games.
Family tip: While you’re looking for a designated workspace, also keep an eye out for dedicated play spaces for the kids. They’ll be happier with a room to call their own, and you’ll be more productive while you work.
2. Location, location, location
No matter where you choose to live, your new home should be conveniently located. Identify the things that are important to you and your work, whether it’s your company’s home office, your clients, or even a good coffee shop. If you mail lots of packages, pick a home that is close to the post office. You may also want to avoid congested areas that are loud or distracting during the hours you’ll be working. Toll Brothers builds communities in the best locations across the country – from charming cities to the very best suburbs with spacious home sites, you’ll find your dream home with Toll Brothers.
Family tip: When you’re thinking about location, don’t make it all about work. Think about what makes sense for your personal life, too – whether you want a house that’s close to the kids’ school, local shops, or your favorite restaurants.
3. Excellent connectivity
For most telecommuters, Internet and phone connectivity is a top priority. If you use your cell phone for business calls, make sure your provider offers a strong cell signal in your new home. If you work on a computer, you’ll need options for reliable high-speed Internet. If you can, avoid areas that require satellite service to connect to the Internet – bad weather could impact your connection and prevent you from working. You may even want to consider additional prewiring in your home office for phone or Internet lines to ensure maximum connectivity – another advantage of new construction!
Family tip: Internet speed works like a highway – more drivers on the road means slower traffic. If you’re working from home and you have a tech-savvy family that loves streaming movies and playing video games, make sure you get Internet service that’s enough for all users.
When selecting a house, consider the privacy concerns of your business. If your work involves confidential client or financial documents, you’ll need plenty of space for cabinets that lock. If you make private phone calls, you’ll want to make sure you have a setup that’s optimal for discretion. Look for a home office that has a lockable door, and add furnishings and equipment that will protect privacy while working.
5. Lighting and a view
A dark basement doesn’t make an appealing home office, for multiple reasons. Good lighting and a window with a view will turn your office into a pleasant place to spend the day – and natural light can even make you healthier and more productive. You’ll want your new home to include a workspace with a window that provides natural lighting. Take a look out the window while you are house hunting, and make sure that it’s a view you’ll be okay with seeing on a daily basis.
Family tip: If you can’t find a home office with a great view, look for a house with great outdoor space. Having an attractive yard or a comfortable patio can make it easier to step outside and clear your head – and your kids and pets will appreciate it, too.
Buying a new home doesn’t happen every day. Take advantage of this opportunity to find a house you love – and one that includes a great workspace, too.
Start your new home search today at TollBrothers.com.
Liz Seasholtz, Chief of Community Engagement at Talent Tribune, contributed to this story.