It was a cold winter night sometime in 1992, and the supposed “quick showing” of a listing of mine was going way longer than expected. Eventually the appointment ended and upon my arrival home I found my husband anxiously waiting at the door … “Where have you been????”
It’s no coincidence my first car phone was installed shortly thereafter at my husband’s behest. This was advanced technology in the early 90s. It took three technicians a few hours to install the receivers, antennas, speakers and direct power lines, but eventually the job was completed. It was expensive to be sure, but as I was fast learning, if I wanted to become a successful realtor my car was going to become my office. Thirty years later not much has changed, although my phone is slightly more advanced.
Today, WFH (working from home) is the new reality that many of my clients are coming to terms with. WFH is not a temporary phenomenon but more the future; creating a viable space within one’s home to work comfortably and efficiently is vitally important. Many in the business world who have offices in Manhattan have, on the whole, told me they don’t plan to return to the city more than twice a week; they expect the same to hold true for their staff. The age of “home offices” is here to stay.
For some this new idea is as simple as the dining room table. Move over a comfy chair and a laptop for five days of the week and voila—a home office! Others who have children at home, whether on Zoom for school or toddlers running around, need to create “quiet space”; thus spare bedrooms and the basement have been converted into offices. Those who are involved in renovating an existing home or in the midst of new construction are repurposing space that may have been designated as a guest bedroom or gym/workout room and now giving priority to the home office concept.
I toured one project recently where an attorney was trying to figure out whether he should put his office in the basement or finish the attic and create a “proper” office up there. If the office was to be placed in the basement, there was concern that once the children came home from school there would be noise coming from the kitchen and family room that were directly above. The last thing this attorney wanted was to be on a conference call and suddenly hear stomping and arguing. On the flip side, if the office was to be set up in the attic, overseas conference calls in the middle of the night would be of concern as his Zoom meetings or voice calls would carry to the bedrooms below, waking up his wife and or kids.
Ultimately the family chose the attic after their contractor worked up a whole soundproofing plan for the office that involved sound attenuation blankets in the studs, spacial clay molds around all the outlets that pierce the walls and the sheetrock was hung on rubberized tracks that would block the sound waves from going through the office walls.
I’m amazed at the evolution of home design and how each new generation adapts their home to fit specific needs. I remember when we all started turning our larger living rooms into dining rooms; added family rooms off of our kitchens, guest bedrooms for our aging parents and now creating real home offices. I would love to hear whether you have come up with some original ideas when changing traditional spaces in your home and adapting to new realities. I am planning on writing a future article on this. One thing, however, that hasn’t changed for me in 30 years … My car is still my office! Feel free to email me at [email protected] or call my cell at 201-826-8809.
Nechama Polak is the broker of record and owner of V and N Group LLC, located at 1401 Palisade Ave, Teaneck. 201-692-3700.