How to Design Homes to Support Remote Workers in Suburban UK Areas?

April 15, 2024

In these changing times, the model of work we had grown accustomed to has been radically transformed. The COVID-19 pandemic led to a sweeping shift from traditional office spaces to remote work, a trend that shows no sign of dwindling. As a result, the suburbs of cities are experiencing a surge in demand for homes designed to cater to the needs of remote workers. This article aims to explore how homes in suburban UK areas can be designed to support the increasing population of remote workers.

Understanding the Rising Demand for Remote Work-Friendly Homes

Before we delve into how to design work-friendly homes in the suburban UK, it’s pivotal to understand the driving forces behind this phenomenon. This section will offer insights into the shift towards remote work, the changing demands of workers, and the impact on suburban real estate.

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The COVID pandemic forced many people to start working remotely, and this shift has had lasting effects. Even post-pandemic, remote work has emerged as a preferred work model for many workers and companies. In a survey by the Office of National Statistics, it was found that nearly half of the UK employees were working from home in 2020. This trend continues to grow, with companies such as Twitter and Slack declaring remote work as a permanent option for their employees.

A significant portion of these remote workers is choosing to move away from congested cities to the more spacious and peaceful suburban areas, leading to a noticeable shift in the UK’s property market. The demand for homes in suburban areas that can accommodate a home office has surged, leading to an increase in property prices in these areas.

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Designing Homes for Remote Work: Space and Functionality

Creating a work-friendly environment at home is not merely about having a desk and chair. A successful home office requires a thoughtful design that considers the worker’s needs, comfort, and productivity. In this section, we will discuss how space and functionality can be optimized to support remote work.

Creating a dedicated workspace is the first step towards a successful home office. This space should be free from household distractions and have ample natural light to reduce eye strain. Open floor plans can be beneficial as they allow for flexible use of space. However, the open space should be designed such that it can be sectioned off when required, to ensure privacy and concentration.

Functionality is another critical factor in designing a home office. High-speed internet is a given requirement. But, other factors like ergonomic furniture, sufficient storage space, and easily accessible power outlets also play a crucial role in designing a functional work space.

Incorporating Biophilic Design Elements

Biophilic design, which involves incorporating elements of nature into the built environment, has shown to improve health, wellbeing and productivity. This section will explore how biophilic design can support remote work.

The term ‘biophilia’ implies ‘love of life or living systems.’ According to the Biophilic Design Theory, humans have an innate connection to nature and thrive in environments that connect them to nature. Incorporating natural elements like indoor plants, natural light, and earthy tones can create a more relaxed and productive work environment.

Natural light is a critical component of biophilic design. Studies show that exposure to natural light can increase productivity and reduce fatigue and stress. Therefore, homes should be designed with large windows, skylights, or solar tubes to maximize natural light.

Adapting Home Design to Technological Needs

Technology is an intrinsic part of remote work. In this section, we will explore some design considerations that can support the technological needs of remote workers.

In today’s digital age, a remote worker’s most crucial tools are their electronic devices and the internet. Therefore, homes should be designed to facilitate seamless connectivity and access to technology. This could include having multiple power outlets in every room, dedicated spaces for routers and modems, and built-in cable management systems to avoid clutter.

Moreover, as more meetings and conferences move online, there is a need for spaces designed for video calls. This could mean having a wall with a professional-looking backdrop or designing a room with soundproofing to avoid disturbances during calls.

Exploring Community Spaces for Remote Workers

While designing homes for remote work, it is essential not to overlook the significance of community spaces. These spaces can help remote workers maintain a healthy work-life balance and interact socially with others.

Community spaces can range from outdoor gardens and parks to shared workspaces and cafes. These spaces offer a much-needed change of scenery and can help prevent the feeling of isolation often associated with remote work. Therefore, while designing homes or residential areas for remote workers, it is crucial to incorporate shared spaces where residents can work, relax and socialize.

The shift towards remote work has presented unique challenges and opportunities in the realm of home design. By combining function, comfort, and connectivity, we can design homes that not only cater to the needs of remote workers but also enhance their productivity and wellbeing.

The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Shift to Remote Work

In the wake of the global health crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic, the concept of remote work has rapidly gained traction. In response to health and safety concerns and lockdown measures, numerous businesses pivoted their operations, transitioning from traditional office spaces to remote working arrangements. This shift has had significant implications on the real estate market, particularly in suburban and rural areas.

The unexpected rise of remote working has fundamentally altered the way people perceive work and work-life balance. No longer constrained by the necessity to commute or live within proximity to their workplaces, employees are now exploring the benefits of living in suburban and rural areas. These areas, typically characterized by reduced cost of living and enhanced quality of life, have become increasingly appealing to a population now working remotely.

Consequently, there’s been a noticeable increase in demand for properties in these areas, with specific emphasis on homes that can accommodate remote work needs. These needs often extend beyond the requirement for a dedicated office space and encompass elements such as reliable internet connectivity, reduced noise levels, and suitable environments for video conferencing.

Hybrid Work: The Future of Work and Its Influence on Home Design

The acceleration of remote work trends during the COVID pandemic has given rise to a new work model: hybrid work. This model, which combines on-site and remote work, is predicted to dominate the future of work. As companies worldwide adopt long-term remote work policies, homes in suburban UK areas need to adapt to support this shift.

Hybrid work offers considerable flexibility, allowing employees to split their time between working from home and the office. This work arrangement necessitates the need for homes that can double as functional workspaces. Consequently, future home designs will likely need to incorporate dedicated workspaces that promote productivity and focus, while also providing a clear separation from living areas to maintain work-life balance.

In addition, as the lines between work and home life blur, there’s a growing need for residential areas to offer community spaces. These shared spaces can facilitate social interaction, providing a welcome respite from the isolation that can sometimes accompany remote work.


The COVID-19 pandemic has indelibly changed the landscape of work, catalysing a shift towards remote work that shows no signs of abating. This shift has precipitated a change in the demands of the real estate market, particularly in suburban and rural UK areas. As more people work remotely, the demand for homes that can accommodate the needs of remote workers is on the rise.

Designing homes for remote work involves more than just creating a dedicated office space; it necessitates a holistic approach that considers various factors, from technology and connectivity to health, safety, and wellbeing. By incorporating these elements, we can create homes that not only meet the practical needs of remote work but also contribute to a productive and balanced life.

The future of work is likely to be hybrid, combining both remote and on-site work. This new work model will further influence home design, pushing for residential spaces that can efficiently cater to both living and working needs. The incorporation of community spaces in residential areas will also play a vital role, helping to maintain a sense of community and combating the isolation that can sometimes come with remote work.

In conclusion, the shift towards remote and hybrid work provides an exciting opportunity to reshape our homes and communities. By embracing these changes and adapting our designs, we can create homes that support the future of work, contributing to increased productivity, wellbeing, and work-life balance.