How Work From Home Is Changing Property Management Forever

Written By

Adam on Dec 15, 2021

How Work From Home Is Changing Property Management Forever

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Tips for homeowners looking to take advantage of this monumental and forever shift toward flexibility and working from home.



Working from home is here to stay. The drumbeat of statistics is deafening, no matter how you look at them. 

  • 70% of companies are planning to adopt a hybrid model
  • 58% of people want to work entirely at home, even post-pandemic
  • 97% of people desire some form of remote work

The implications for anyone who has a home to rent are obvious. A WFH world creates novel priorities when it comes to finding a place to rent; people are looking at floorplans in a new way, trying to reconfigure old layouts to accommodate new ways of living and working.  


As the Washington Post puts it:

Working from home is shaping up to be a full-time reality for many people — and at least a part-time situation for others. Using a small portable table in the corner of your bedroom as a desk and the top of your dresser as a filing space is not a long-term solution. Neither is turning your couch into your office and the coffee table into your main Zoom station.



So how should homeowners set up their rental properties for success in this world? Have no fear, your trusty friends at Belong are here to help.



Assess strengths and weaknesses of the space


This is an essential and realistic place to start. You’re probably not prepared to add a greenhouse office to your property, but it’s critical to take a hard look at your property, while keeping in mind the art of the possible.


Remember that a WFH space needs a measure of quiet and privacy.  Meaning part of a kitchen or family room is not an ideal place to convert into a home office. In fact, you probably don’t want your home office to even be adjacent to such noisy spaces.  


If you have a small house, though, you might not have a huge amount of flexibility; you can’t turn a bedroom into a home office if you only have one bedroom. In that case, we have some suggestions:


  • Stage your kitchen so that visually it feels like it could be used as a home office. 
  • If the kitchen table is going to serve as a desk, set it up with a laptop and the proper work essentials, including a desk lamp. This subliminally sends the right signals to potential tenants.
  • Also we recommend clearing the table of kitchen paraphernalia; it shouldn’t look like the family is about the sit down to dinner. 
  • You can turn an unfinished attic into a charming office. Take a look at these cozy and comforting attic offices for inspiration. We are particularly drawn to the way that so many of these use the angled roofline as an architectural feature. 

If you are going to transform your attic space, we suggest that you make sure it is well-lit – many attics suffer from an absence of light – and that you liberally populate the office with plants.  When someone walks up the steps and is surrounded by green energy, they can feel it right away.


For more tips on staging your home, check out this post

You own a home.

We have someone to ❤️  it.

Digging Deeper


Next up: Forget curb appeal, how about subterranean appeal? There are innumerable ways to reinvent your basement as a home office. These examples should get your wheels turning. Basements can be quiet hideaways that can add immediate value to your rental. 


If you want to explore options beyond the kitchen, attic, and basement, may we introduce you to…



The Cloffice


Since we’re all working from home now, we don’t need to dress for work the same way we once did. We need fewer clothes, and therefore less space to store them.  So how about taking advantage of wardrobe shrinkage and transforming your closet into … well, a cloffice.


It may not be the most graceful coinage we’ve ever heard – sounds a bit like a Congressional procedure – but in fact, these examples from our friends at Food52 are elegant enough to distract us from the clumsiness of this particular neologism.



Don’t Forget the Outdoors


We’ve heard that many people are spending gloriously productive working hours outdoors, on patios and terraces, in gazebos, and under pergolas.


So when you are showing and staging your rental home, don’t forget the opportunity to demonstrate the irresistible appeal of a bucolic backyard office setting. 


Thinking about upgrading your backyard? Learn how to do it well for less money


And if you want to go the ultimate step and build a backyard office to blow the socks off any prospective tenant, remember that ADUs – or Accessory Dwelling Units – are becoming easier and easier to build in California and elsewhere. 


Which means you can not only take advantage of this legislation to build a “granny flat” or a rentable unit, but to build home offices as well. Here’s a link to a contractor who builds ADUs in San Francisco; here’s another to a marketplace of ADU builders in LA.



Now, if these improvements all sound great, but the idea of finding a contractor to execute on the plans is far less attractive, may we direct your attention to Belong.  We are a new – in fact a totally new – kind of property manager.  We take care of homeowners end-to-end, including any repairs or renovations required. Which means our teams of contractors and craftsmen (Belong Pros) can handle converting your attic, basement, or closet into an office space.

 

If you’re interested in learning more about a property manager like no other – for a time like no other – we’d be interested in learning about you.

About the author

Adam Hanft

Editor in Chief

Adam is a futurist - co-author of "Dictionary of the Future" - brand strategist, public-company board member, former comedy-writer (but he hasn't stopped being vaguely amusing), and an investor in Belong.