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Controlling the Chaos: 5 Ways to Carve Out a WFH Space

Controlling the Chaos: 5 Ways to Carve Out a WFH Space

We’ve all seen photos and memes posted across social media of makeshift work from home set ups. Everything from stacks of toiler paper, strategically placed cases of bottled water, and even ironing boards for those who prefer a stand-up desk.  Many apartment renters have had to get really creative on the fly in order to remain productive in their jobs. 

Our SatisFacts COVID-19 National Renter Study found that 44.7% of renters in Round 3 said their biggest challenge when attempting to work from home is not having a dedicated workspace. Respectively, Rounds 1 and 2 were 38.8% and 36.4%.  The struggle is getting real for those renters with no end in sight when they will be returning to their usual work environment. 

Let’s imagine someone living in a 1-bedroom home.  In a traditional floorplan layout, one can expect a living/dining room, kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom.  If the home is without additional features such as a breakfast bar, separate dining room, recessed computer alcove, or a larger than usual bedroom, establishing a dedicated home office space may be challenging. 

This pandemic has created an opportunity for our industry to reimagine how renters live in their homes today.  For those communities without additional square footage to transform into a workspace, here are 5 creative ways to make a 1-bedroom effective for those working from home. 

  1. Ditch the dining table – Traditional dining room sets may not be practical given society’s penchant nowadays to enjoy a meal while catching up on the latest episodes of popular shows or a long night of binge watching.  So why not reimagine that space as an office area?  This will allow renters to clearly see how working from home can be done in a way that is comfortable.
  2. Nix the nightstands – If the furnishings in your model are set up with two nightstands flanking the bed, consider removing both and setting up a workstation instead.  The workstation can be styled with a charging area which tends to be a common reason why renters use a nightstand in to begin with.
  3. Wow the W/D space – Should your layout include W/D hookups, but not the actual units, this space is perfect to demonstrate how renters can transform that area into a mini office.  Add extra shelving and a stool that fits under the desk.  Keep the doors closed so renters are surprised at the reveal, similar to a “wow” fridge.
  4. Let go of the linen closet – In order to make this space work, all you need is a width of 17 inches.  Remove the shelves at the bottom to make space for a chair and add a dry erase or cork board to the inside of the closet door for task lists and other items to inspire productivity.
  5. Transform the terrace – Working from home in a small apartment can make the walls seem like they’re closing in.  Setting up an area suited for business on the patio or balcony can be a refreshing surprise for those touring your community.  Tables and chairs suited for outdoor use can be fashioned into work from home areas sure to appeal to those craving a little Vitamin D. 

Increased numbers of renters working from home may present an opportunity for developers to reimagine traditional floorplan layouts in the future; but getting creative in the present will help current renters who are now working remotely enjoy their homes even more.

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