How to make your properties suitable for WFH

Working from home is the new normal post-covid

Part two – home working

The Covid-19 pandemic has been an extremely testing time for everyone involved in the rental sector, and it will have repercussions for many years to come. One thing that is clear is that tenants will have far different expectations of their home than they did four months ago. To help landlords, we’re putting together a series of articles explaining how they can unlock the potential of their properties, and offer homes fit for this new era.

Today, in part two, we’re covering how to make your property a hit for the remote working revolution.

Before lockdown, most people considering renting a new home or flat, would likely have expected to spend less than a third of their time actively making use of their new home with the rest of the time spent working or sleeping.

This has changed dramatically in recent months, with nearly 50% of workers reporting that they worked from home for at least one day a week in early June, according to the Office of National Statistics.

And while of course many people will return to their office or other place of work once the pandemic has subsided, we shouldn’t expect everything to snap back to normal. The levels of home working had been steadily growing for years, and millions have now seen what life can be like without jumping on the Northern Line or a standing-room only bus every morning.

So as a new generation of remote workers sets out looking for a new home that won’t have them pining for an office, what can you do as a landlord to make your property stand out?

Think of your audience

The first thing you should consider is whether the changing role of home-working could affect who the target audience of your property is. The main impact will be that homes further out from town and city centres are becoming more appealing to young professionals.

For instance a suburban house near a station in outer London could be converted into several rooms aimed at 20 something workers from a single home for a family. These digital nomads will appreciate the fact that the house likely comes with a garden, an uncommon luxury in densely packed London.

How best to use space

Those in higher skilled occupations are more likely to work from home, meaning that transforming space in your property to attract remote workers could be an avenue to increase the income of your portfolio.

For example, a two bedroom apartment that has traditionally had two friends move in could have one of the bedrooms converted into a home office, and then be advertised to a more affluent professional or a couple that can make use of the space.

Even if you can’t make such a drastic overhaul, think about what you can offer prospective tenants in terms of remote working. If there’s space in the living room you could install a desk, or having a large dining room table with comfortable chairs could make all the difference when a tenant comes round for a viewing.

Making the most of the local area

The final thing to consider is how increased remote working will affect tenants’ relationship with their local area.

When advertising a property post-lockdown, you should assume that prospective tenants will spend more time within 1 or 2 miles of their home than they would have previously. Instead of getting dinner at a restaurant near work, they will want somewhere near to home after a day at their dinner table. Coffee shops nearby that allow them to work somewhere different post lockdown could also be a big selling point.

So make sure to reflect the vibrancy of the local area, making it clear what tenants will be able to walk too rather than just listing the distance to the nearest station.