Rising numbers of creative artists, freelancers and contractors are working from home. The numbers are expected to increase. Leasing agents, employers and manufacturers of home amenities aren't the only people who have to accommodate for shifts that America's changing workforce will bring. Real estate agents, home builders, mortgage lenders and home buyers may also have to adjust to the changes.
Home amenities must keep up with changing times
The shifts that may have far reaching impact are expected to see half of America's workforce earning income from the contractor and freelancer ranks. According to Forbes, 53 million workers in the United States already freelance. By 2020, that number is expected to double. Many of these workers will work from home.
Add in telecommuters, and don't be surprised if members of the gig and freelance economy start looking for home amenities and home floor layouts that fit their work-from-home needs. Following are 10 home amenities that contractors may start looking for more and more in home designs.
- Open floor plan - Houses that are designed with an open floor plan make it easier for contractors to multi-task. Whether they are working from their home office, the living room or the kitchen island, contractors can keep an eye on young children, pets or a meal that's cooking in the oven while they work.
- Solar energy - Homes built with solar energy panels help to cut down on utility expenses for work-at-home professionals, and who doesn't love opening a utility bill and seeing that the costs has dropped?
- Great outdoor views - Of all home amenities, this one is tops. Great views can keep freelancers from feeling isolated. Outdoor views help contractors feel connected to the world around them, even as contractors work for 8 or more hours a day from home.
- Built-in bookcases - Apartment management companies are already designing apartment units with built-in bookcases. Not only are built-in-bookcases visually attractive, they are space savers.
- Large home office - A large home office is a contractor's bread and butter. Contractors may start asking real estate agents to only show them houses that have a large home office. These rooms need to be big enough to fit a desk, chair, two filing cabinets, a printer and computer inside. The space shouldn't be cramped.
- Indoor exercise space - A large extra room or a basement could serve as an indoor exercise space. Because contractors tend to be independent thinkers, they value and take care of their health.
- Wifi access - This is a must when it comes to home amenities. Even houses in the country may need Wifi access to land a sale with freelancers.
- Stylish home lighting - Task, accent and general or natural lighting are winners. Home offices should be designed with at least task and general lighting.
- Wall computer stands and monitor stands - Similar to built-in bookcases, these home amenities computer and monitor stands are attractive space savers. Houses designed with these two home amenities also keep contractors from having to spend money on separate computer and monitor stands.
- Finished basement - Documents, videotapes, artist equipment and supplies and additional filing cabinets can be stored in a finished basement. A portion of a finished basement could also serve as a home office, especially if both people buying the same house are contractors.
Location is also important to contractors and freelancers. Homes that these workers, particularly full-time contractors, live in come with real advantages if the homes are located within walking distance of public train and bus stations. If the houses are not within walking distance, contractors should not have to drive more than 10 to 15 minutes to reach public transportation facilities.
Until the shifts change, these home amenities may seem far fetched. Manufacturers, home builders and real estate agents who see and prepare for these shifts now, may find themselves ahead of the curve now and in the future.