The pandemic and lockdown process has made more people appreciate having a study and question the practicality of open plan living, our latest research reveals.

The coronavirus pandemic and lockdown are impacting on how many of us feel about our homes, according to our latest research.

Despite working from home having become the norm for many since the first national lockdown in March, one in five Britons is not happy with their working set up.

Only 23% of those we surveyed have a dedicated study or home office, with 18% working in their living room and a further 14% working in their bedrooms.

A lack of space in which to work was the biggest gripe, with 18% of respondents complaining about being forced to share their workspace with a spouse, family member or housemate. A further 8% complained about a lack of privacy for calls and virtual meetings.

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Unsurprisingly, lockdown has also changed people’s attitude towards open plan living, which has grown in popularity in recent years.

Nearly three out of 10 people said their views on open plan layouts had changed, with 11% saying they did not think they were practical in the new normal, while 33% of respondents claimed they never thought they were a good idea in the first place.

By contrast, 17% of those questioned said they now preferred the idea of open plan living, possibly because they are missing the human interaction they previously had at work.

Why is this happening?

Lockdown and the huge rise in the number of people working from home has caused Britons to re-evaluate what they want from their properties.

Features that people did not prioritise when they spent a lot of time away from their home, such as a garden or home office, have gained increased importance among Britons.

Open plan living, which operated well when a property was primarily being used during leisure time, may also have become less appealing when people are working from home for the longer-term.

Tom Parker, consumer spokesperson at Zoopla, said: “Having a home fit for the changes in our lifestyle has never been so important, particularly as many of us work from home. 

“For those of us not considering moving home, there’s always scope to improve your current living space, be this painting a room to add a different feel, or zoning a space to create a space for home working.”

Who does it affect?

Despite being dissatisfied with their homeworking arrangement, only 29% of people have spent money on improving their set up, such as buying a new desk or office chair, or upgrading their wi-fi package. A lucky 14% of respondents said their employer covered the cost of improvements.

Others were more positive about working from home, with three out of 10 saying they appreciated not having the hassle and exhaustion of commuting, and 12% appreciated the money they were saving by not having to travel to and from the office.

What’s the background?

With England back in lockdown for another four weeks and other coronavirus restrictions in place in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, many Britons are turning their attention to home improvements.

Upgrading interior decoration is the most popular DIY project people plan to tackle, with 32% of respondents keen to get cracking, followed by garden landscaping (15%) and kitchen renovations at (12%).

One in 10 people plan to create a home office, while 7% aim to improve their wi-fi or phone connectivity.

Fewer homeowners, however, are planning more costly home improvements, with just 5% of our respondents intending to convert their lofts and only 9% thinking of having an extension built.

Top three takeaways

  • Covid-19 and lockdown are changing what Britons value about their homes

  • One in five are still not happy with their working set up, with only 23% of people having a study or home office

  • Nearly three out of 10 people said their views on open plan layouts had changed with 11% saying they did not think they were practical in the new normal.

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The information and data in this article was correct at the time of publishing and every attempt is made to ensure its accuracy. However, it may now be out of date or superseded. Zoopla Ltd and its group companies make no representation or warranty of any kind regarding the content of this article and accept no responsibility or liability for any decisions made by the reader based on the information and/or data shown here.
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