The quieter spell in January always has me thinking laterally about the year ahead and putting plans in place for projects down the line.

One thing I’m very grateful about is that when I’m not travelling countrywide my commute to work takes no more than two minutes, reducing stress in my life, freeing up time that would otherwise be spent in a car, and probably most importantly making a big difference to the quality of my life.

While we can’t all be fortunate enough to live close to work – though I urge those who can move closer to their work/children’s schools to consider it – another option is to work from home (at least some of the time) – tax benefits are also a good thing here!

I like what Harcourts Africa CEO, Richard Gray, has to say about the high demand of home offices:

“With fuel prices continually fluctuating, food prices on the rise and interest rates putting consumers under pressure, South Africans have started exploring alternative means to reduce their expenses and free up expendable income. Cue in the home office. Business professionals, entrepreneurs, freelancers and many others are opting for home offices and besides obvious advantages these additions also add great value to your property.  

Technological advancements have made the home office more viable in recent years and demand for these spaces is high. We are seeing increasingly more queries from buyers asking about homes equipped with office potential.   

With increased value as an incentive home owners are not only including the home office into their renovation plans when they aim to sell but are choosing this route for their own purposes too.

There are quite a few possibilities being explored in the current market, ranging from spare bedrooms being converted into tech hubs with office-centric decor, to garages being renovated to include desks, computers and a professional entrance. Another interesting development is the transformation of Wendy houses and garden sheds into quaint office marvels.

The shift to home offices is in many respects due to modern working demands. People are spending a lot of time away from home as work schedules are jam-packed and the home office allows for a balance to be brought to the professional/personal life juggling act.

International trends suggest that the home office is so popular that in 2014 in the UK almost 14% of the workforce was home based, the highest figure since the inception of the records database.

As internet speeds increase and connectability in South Africa becomes cheaper and more accessible people are going to gravitate towards being home based. Home owners should be considering the possibilities this presents.”