How we work has drastically changed within the past year.
According to Upwork’s “Economist Report: Remote Workers on the Move,” remote work is here to stay. The pandemic has shown the workforce and its employers that work can literally be done from anywhere. According to their findings, “Anywhere from 14 to 23 million Americans are planning to move as a result of remote work,” with major cities bearing the brunt of the migration, nearly 21 percent of city dwellers plan to move, or have moved.
Most of the country's workforce is accustomed to the nine-to-five workday that stemmed from the early 1920s when the Ford Motor Company introduced it as a way in which to protect factory workers. Times are changing and we are in the middle of a revolutionary work culture where getting one’s work done is far more flexible.
A recent TechRepublic article announced that Salesforce, a technology-based company headquartered in San Francisco, is the latest company to “kill off the traditional nine-to-five office routine.” Brent Hyder, the company’s chief people officer, said: “The 9-to-5 workday is dead, and the employee experience is about more than ping pong tables and snacks.”
Though not everyone plays ping pong at work, many have switched to remote work and home offices are top requests when one buys or rents a home. Tech giants, Microsoft, Twitter and Facebook changed their workforce model because of COVID-19, and other organizations are seeing the benefits of doing so.
“The future of the office is centered around wellbeing,” said Gary Wheeler, CEO of the American Society of Interior Designers. “Whether you return to a collaborative office environment or build out a work-from-home space or most likely, a combination of both, data-driven design has pushed the workplace into the future with a deep understanding and regard for employee’s physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. A dedication to healthful materials and biophilic elements will only grow in importance - ranging from HEPA filters and antimicrobial surfaces to outdoor workstations and beyond.”
This is the beginning of a shift—an evolution—of how we will work in the future.
Getting work done
Having worked remotely for most of my career, creating a space or nook to do so is something I’m familiar with. Home office elements—good lighting, an ergonomic chair and a quiet place for phone calls with good internet access are the basics. We’ve come a long way, and the home office of the future incorporates all that and so much more.
“Many of my customers have transitioned to working from home, (WFH) and many of them feel this will be the new normal, even after the pandemic,” said Curt Wegner, President of Curtis Daniel Homes. “Companies have been forced into a remote workforce, but I think many are recognizing they can still be productive, and they can save a tremendous amount of money on office space and travel expenses.”
Wegner said that the No. 1 request for home offices is privacy. Though buyers want shared family spaces to be open, we have seen from posts on Instagram, Tik Tok, Facebook and mainstream media of what can happen when pets or kids become part of a Zoom call or conference.
“While the pandemic has made it more acceptable to hear pets or children in the background, most people would prefer to have a quiet space to work,” Wegner said. “That means they would like their office to be away from the main living areas of the house, and away from background noise. Home office size varies greatly, but it seems that they are trending smaller.”
Wegner is also seeing many buyers requiring two offices as well. “In many cases, one office isn’t enough since two or more people are working from home,” he noted. “As such, many people seem to prefer a ‘Zoom Room’ or pocket office as opposed to a full-sized room. This helps keep the size of the house, and the overall expense of building it, within budget.”
Oh, the places we could work
Have laptop will travel. I thought it would be fun to take a look at some beautiful places we could work, remotely, where the view is a cityscape, a beach or an estate in Central America.
I reached out to three industry experts who provided me with three stunning listings where nine to five, five to nine, or anytime in between would make WFH much more interesting. The only requirement is plugging in and being Zoom call ready. Working from home never looked so good.
Privacy on the hill with ocean views
“Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula, Nosara is a premier destination,” said Owen Tyler, of The Cassina Group. “Avid surfers, yoga enthusiasts and those looking for a secluded beach getaway love this area.”
Imagine having a home office here—perched on a hill of 23 acres, the estate overlooks the Ostional Wildlife Refuge and has panoramic ocean views. Its name, “Rancho Rio Montana,” is derived from a working cattle ranch. The principal home has four bedrooms and the separate guest house has two bedrooms. Talk about home office space. With mountains, a pool, and the Pacific Ocean nearby, you have multiple choices for work.
“It’s an easy trip from Charleston and a favorite of those living in the Lowcountry because of the pristine beaches, national park and relaxed quality of life,” Tyler said. “It’s the perfect place to relax, refresh, and set up your new home office while enjoying the abundant natural beauty of Costa Rica.”
The property, listed by Todd Cutter of 2Costa Rica Real Estate, is priced at $3.5 million and located at Modern Hilltop Hacienda Rancho Rio Montana. The compound is a perfect location for a corporate retreat, investment property, or a retiree who works from home. One could finish their novel here. The primary bedroom has its own private terrace.
Old world charm with 21st century modern amenities, plus panoramic ocean views is one of many reasons this is a dream WFH property.
“The Cassina Group is a member of Who’s Who in Luxury real estate,” Tyler said. “This includes a worldwide collection of top brokers representing the finest luxury properties across the globe, and the firm has a vast collection of international properties on their website. This Costa Rican property is listed by my friend Todd Cutter.”
Working here could inspire creativity, and your next Zoom call’s background would look like a screensaver.
“The outdoor living spaces and ocean views are second to none, with incredible sunsets over the Pacific,” Cutter said. “The home is thoughtfully designed with great connectivity to outdoors spaces including covered seating areas, porches and an asymmetrical pool. Verdant hillsides surround the estate and landscaped gardens add to the charm of the property.”
Daniel Ravenel Sotheby’s International Realty lists some of the most beautiful homes for sale on the planet. The company has over 24,000 agents in top markets worldwide, and they are accustomed to connecting local buyers with listings and brokers abroad. That connection resulted in their network—among referrals between Sotheby’s International agents connecting buyers to advisors in their markets—to $150 billion in global sales.
“Our affiliation with Sotheby’s International Realty allows us intimate access to some of the most highly desirable locations in the globe. With this new ‘work from home’ economy, lifestyle is more important than ever and has been a real focus of our clients looking to upgrade their environment,” said Ruthie Ravenel of Daniel Ravenel’s Charleston office. “Whether it is a condo in Paris, a villa in Tuscany or an oceanfront retreat in the Caribbean, luxury buyers worldwide are stretching their vision well beyond our shores.”
Ravenel said many international buyers come here to settle as well. “We are seeing international buyers coming into our area seeking that Lowcountry experience while still maintaining their ‘big city’ salaries,” she said.
If you’re in the market for a home in the Bahamas, Sotheby’s International Realty’s listing at Sky Cove is the ultimate in get-away from it all and get some work done magnificence. The seven-bedroom sprawling home was built in 2020 and has a private beachfront. With over 6,400 square feet, there are plenty of places to choose from to work. The home has two primary suites, and detached “bungalows.”
“Sky Cove is unique, remote and set amongst three acres on the Caribbean Sea,” said listing agent Mark Hussey of Damianos Sotheby’s International Realty. “It’s an idyllic spot to get away and work from home.”
That’s an understatement. When you need a break from work, drive five minutes to the small town of Savannah Sound. A 20-minute drive gets you to Governors Harbours, the capital of Eleuthera and the largest town on the island. Take a painting class, visit the library, or stop by a few eateries or upscale restaurants.
Or make that Zoom meeting you have scheduled at the 50-foot ocean view pool. There’s a Baja shell if the ocean breezes happen to interfere, as well as a deck overlooking the pool and the ocean—with seating.
The list price for all that WFH luxury is $2.395 million.
Downtown in the middle of everything
There is an energy about being in the middle of everything that motivates some. Downtown Charleston had to be on the list of dream work-from-home places. Lower King Street has shopping, restaurants, cafes and after-work gathering places. One has to take a break from work.
“175 King Street is an 1890s masonry building that has both the perfect converted Urban Residence with a covered rooftop terrace and a retail space below,” Laura Wingate Farish of Maison Real Estate said. “The upstairs loft has a spacious living space, hardwood floors, vaulted ceilings and two gas fireplaces.”
When you enter the residential space, a brick walkway opens to a private garden space. The property has an elevator that goes from the ground floor all the way up to the rooftop terrace on the third floor. There are two bedrooms in the principal residence and a guest cottage off the back garden with a lofted bed space and full bath.
“The terrace is a peaceful spot above the hustle and bustle of King Street and overlooks the city’s skyline,” said Farish. “You feel like you’ve been carried away to some faraway, enchanting locale. Plus, it’s filled with multiple locations to create the ultimate work-from-home refuge.”
When you need a break, you walk out your front door.
“The Charleston Library Society is directly across the street. It’s the third oldest subscription library in the country,” Farish said “The Gibbes Museum of Art is right around the corner and renowned restaurants such as Husk, 167 Raw and some of the best shopping in the city such as Ibu Movement and Yves Delorme are steps away.”
The property lists for $2.9 million.
Home sweet office home
Video conferencing, flexibility and remote are the new buzzwords in the workforce now. Most experts agree it’s here to stay. The office of the future will most likely gravitate toward open spaces upfitted with health-focused features and used collaboratively for those times employees need to do so. Predictions are WFH spaces will the place where employees spend the majority of their workday.
A study from AESC reports that the workforce of the future is “intergenerational,” meaning that young professionals, millennials and retirees will all be a part of our new norm. “Young people in particular are expecting a lot more flexibility. They don’t want to be at their desks all the time... they want to be able to work from home and they want to be able to move around..." said Christhina Candido, PhD at the University of Sydney.
With technology, we really can work from anywhere. I’m willing to visit any of the aforementioned places to dig deeper on this subject.
REMOTE WORK FACTS
• One in four employees quit a job because of a long commute.
• Remote workers saved $94.23 on fuel per week, $476.92 per month, and $4,523.04 per year.
• Average total time exercising: Remote: 2 hours, 44 minutes; Office: 2 hours, 19 minutes.
• On average, remote employees worked 1.4 days more days every month, or 16.8 more days every year compared to in-office.
• Three ways remote workers stay productive: Take breaks, have set working hours, and keep a to-do list.
Source: Airtasker, “The Benefits of Working from Home.”
Contact Brigitte Surette at firstname.lastname@example.org.