Changes in how we want to live and work at home

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Changes in how we want to live and work at home

New research commissioned by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) reveals the significant impact of the coronavirus pandemic on how people want to live and work at home.

UK homeowners are increasingly demanding environmentally efficient properties that better support their new ways of living, as well as their mental health, happiness and family cohesion.

RIBA’s research exclusively reveals that the majority of homeowners (70 per cent of survey respondents) believe the design of their home has affected their mental wellbeing during the pandemic.

Spending more time in their home has made people more stressed (11 per cent), anxious (10 per cent) and depressed (10 per cent).

Nine per cent have admitted they have found it harder to relax and six per cent say it’s negatively impacted their productivity.

Changes to the home

RIBA’s research sought to understand the mental and physical benefits of living in a better-designed home.

The findings highlight that 23 per cent believe a better-designed home will increase their happiness; some 31 per cent agree they would be able to relax more, while approximately 17 per cent say they would sleep better.

Insights also revealed that with working from home now the “new normal” for many, some 15 per cent want to improve the design of their home to help them be more productive.

And with families spending more time together at home, more than one in 10 believe making changes to the design of their home would help them to live more harmoniously with others in the house.

Extensions and remodelling projects

Eight out of 10 respondents identified one or more of the changes that they would now like to make to the design of their home after lockdown, these include: reconfiguring their existing spaces or extending their homes.

Nearly one in 10 would change their open-plan design in favour of creating separate rooms, but, in contrast, 14 per cent would like to make their home more open plan.

Some 40 per cent want more environmental-design features, including improving the amount of natural daylight, improving the energy-efficiency of their home and improved sound-proofing between spaces.

Other wish list changes include would like more flexible living, home office space and room to accommodate an extended family.

Quality of life and value

Ben Channon, RIBA chartered architect, head of wellbeing at Assael Architecture and author of Happy by Design says: “As architects, we understand that every family is unique, and the design of their home must be tailored to fit their specific needs.

“We’re trained to be creative and practical problem solvers and will add value, not just financial, but also to your quality of life – ensuring that your most sacred space works for you and your loved ones.

“We will help you to make your home more usable and, put simply, a nicer place to live - ultimately making you happier and healthier.”

RIBA President Alan Jones adds: “It’s clear that the impact of COVID-19 will affect how and where we choose to live for years to come.

“For many of us, our homes are our sanctuaries, and this new research commissioned by the RIBA clearly indicates that many people are keener than ever to adapt and improve their homes.

“I strongly encourage homeowners to seek professional expertise to make their dreams a reality. RIBA chartered architects and chartered practices offer the highest standards and assurance in the UK.

“They can support homeowners every step of the way, whether they are extending their home or building a new one from scratch.”