“I love lockdown,” said no one ever, especially those living with young children and working in an open plan home.
The pandemic has shown many that living with a main floor with few separating walls between living room, dining room, kitchen, and office can make working from home a nightmare. The designers of the open plan never had to work while homeschooling their children. With the open plan design, the steady whir of the dishwasher mixed with the crinkling sounds of kids opening packages for snacks in the background ruin your concentration. And as you try to look calm on Zoom while making furtive hand gestures to quieten the kids and spouse, you can count on your dog to start barking just when you’ve unmuted to give your input on an important project.
Pandemic Changes Working Habitats
According to designers, the open-plan home is one of the trends that is making its way out. Around forty-two percent of Canadians are working from home due to the lockdown and it is likely that the remote working will continue long after the pandemic is a distant memory. When surveyed, Global News reported that eighty-six percent of respondents said they were getting used to working from home and liked it. Thirty-six percent also said, if they were ordered back to the office, they would look for another job. Thus, as we are living through the impracticality of open-plan floor plans, future home interior designs are likely to include some versions of privacy.
Forbes online magazine quoted a designer who remarked that closed layouts will become the standard. “It's just because people want that privacy, they want that little bit of separation. And sometimes it's good to have a door that you can close. Whether it's for containing a mess or just giving yourself that physical and audio separation from other things that are going on in your home.”
Your Home Office
While, a carefully placed bookshelf can define your office space, it does not prevent your children from wandering over to ask you for a snack. You may also need to add strictly enforced rules with the family to prevent constant interruptions that can reduce your focus and productivity. Future designs will see a return of room dividers and walls and doors, if only to give remote workers the audio separation necessary for a peaceful boundary between work and home. Having a home office with a door is often a good way to lock away the workday as so many report that they work more hours when working from home than they logged when they worked in a corporate space. So, although the daily commute is gone, those hours are replaced by a longer working day and the design of your home may be at fault.
The Importance of Doors
And isn’t it distracting to be able to see the dishes in the sink or other little messes while you are trying to work? One client we moved from a modern apartment in Toronto to a larger country home ninety minutes away described the number of doors in his new home with the same type of pleasure I use when describing a medium-rare, juicy steak! The pandemic is causing changes to the way we live and work. It is no surprise that these are leading to changes in the way we use our space.
The Hassle-Free Move
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